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)
12 November 2007

Why the silence?

It has been almost two week now since the publication of After the Party, Andrew Feinstein’s book in which he claims the ANC bigwigs – from President Mbeki  to Trevor Manuel to Essop Pahad – stopped a vigorous investigation of the arms deal because senior ANC figures and perhaps the ANC itself benefited from arms deal bribes.

Curiously, despite these obviously defamatory claims by Feinstein, not a single ANC cabinet Minister or official implicated in the shameful cover up, nor the President, nor the ANC as an organisation, have issued denials of any of Feisntein’s claims. Neither have they attacked him or issued instructions to their lawyers that he be sued. I was waiting for the letter from the President to let rip last Friday, but the President had other canards on his brian, perhaps because the truth of Feinstein’s book was to difficult to bluster away.

Does this mean the ANC and all those ANC bigwigs implicated by Feinstein have now in effect admitted that everything Feinstein have written is true? If they do not sue or demand a retraction, that is surely the only conclusion to be drawn from the silence. I suppose then the silence can be viewed as a strategic one: the ANC has probably decided to say nothing in the hope that Feinstein and his irksome obsession with the truth would go away.

This silence seems to confirm that the arms deal was the beginning of the end for the ANC as a moral, principled and incorruptible freedom movement and the end of the beginning of the ANC as a money-grabbing,  unprincipled and corrupt political party. Would it have been different if Thabo Mbeki had not been President? My continuing admiration for some ANC leaders and the respect for the pre-arms deal ANC makes me hope and believe that it would have been different.

But now we will never know. What I do know is that I will never again believe one single word Essop Pahad says because he now has the credibility of a second hand car salesman in Virginia.

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