Quote of the week

An ‘important purpose of section 34 [of the Constitution] is to guarantee the protection of the judicial process to persons who have disputes that can be resolved by law’ and that the right of access to court is ‘foundational to the stability of an orderly society. It ensures the peaceful, regulated and institutionalised mechanisms to resolve disputes, without resorting to self-help. The right of access to court is a bulwark against vigilantism, and the chaos and anarchy which it causes. Construed in this context of the rule of law and the principle against self-help in particular, access to court is indeed of cardinal importance’.The right guaranteed s34 would be rendered meaningless if court orders could be ignored with impunity:the underlying purposes of the right — and particularly that of avoidance of self-help — would be undermined if litigants could decide which orders they wished to obey and which they wished to ignore.

Plasket AJ
Victoria Park Ratepayers' Association v Greyvenouw CC and others (511/03) [2003] ZAECHC 19 (11 April 2003)
17 November 2006

Vavi’s folly

Zwelenzima Vavi will clutch at anything to perpetuate the story that Jacob Zuma is the victim of some dark conspiracy. In a column in in the Mail & Guardian today he reiterates his call for the five judges of the SCA in the Shaik verdict to be fired. He also argues that they should apologise to Jacob Zuma because they prejudiced him and presented him “in a negative light”.

Then comes the clincher:

They are covering up their mistake by introducing a new form of judge-made law, which redefines the now false finding of a “generally corrupt relationship” with one of “mutually beneficial symbiosis” between the two men.

This seems to mean that all the courts have to prove in a corruption trial is that you did some favours and received some other favours. They don’t have to show that any favour corresponded to any particular other favour.

From this statement it is clear that Vavi should stick to organising workers and irritating President Mbeki because he is not going to be a sucecss at giving legal advice. Like the SCA judges he vilifies, he seems also not to have read either the Squires or the SCA judgments.

From these judgments it is clear that to prove corruption in South Africa one does not have to show that a specific payment or “favour” from the corruptor induced the counter “favour” from the corruptee. To require this would be to narrow down the scope of corruption to a degree that would make it almost impossible to convict corrupt officials involved in an ongoing scheme of corruption.

Both Squires and the SCA made this very clear in their judgments.

Its the very nature of the relationship between Shaik and Zuma that a generally corrupt relationship developed between them. All the evidence proven beyond reasonable doubt – according to two sets of judges – make clear that Shaik gave money to Zuma and Zuma did favours for him. Shaik did this with the intention to corrupt Zuma.

The only question is whether Zuma had a corrupt intention when he engaged with Shaik in these exchanges of “favours”. He might not have had a corrupt intention because he was so stupid or naive that he thought Shaik gave him the money out of friendship and he did favours for Shaik not because he had been paid more than a million but just because he’s such an unbelievably nice and generous guy.

Yes, and father Christmas lives.

It is therefore not the courts and the media that is putting Zuma in a bad light. It is Zuma (and Shaik) that is putting Zuma in a bad light. Come to think of it, with the kind of uninformed prattle published in the Mail & Guardian, Vavi is not doing Zuma’s any favours either.

What Mr Vavi might want to consider is whether he really wants a President who takes more than a million Rand from a convicted crook and then do favours for him. Whether it is a convictable form of corruption or not, it is ethically disgusting.

Surely that is a bad thing? Or has Vavi changed his mind on corruption?

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