Blog entries from: Constitutionally Speaking

This blog deals with political and social issues in South Africa, mostly from the perspective of Constitutional Law. Written by Pierre de Vos

1 to 10 of 52

November 19 2014

From Constitutionally Speaking Wed Nov 19 2014, 05:19:11

Last week the ANC members of Parliament adopted a "report" that "exonerates" President Jacob Zuma of all wrongdoing in the R250 million Nkandla scandal. This is not unexpected. ANC MP's need to protect the President in order to retain their jobs and to have any chance of promotion in future. It is politically required of [...]

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November 10 2014

From Constitutionally Speaking Mon Nov 10 2014, 08:36:10

Steve Hofmeyr and his supporters claim that a puppet called Chester Missing has infringed on his right to freedom of expression by challenging his racist statements and by challenging his sponsors for supporting his racism. They do not seem to understand that your right to freedom of expression does not always give you a right [...]

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November 5 2014

From Constitutionally Speaking Wed Nov 5 2014, 03:03:05

The murder of Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa predictably led to angry calls for the re-introduction of the death penalty in South Africa. For both principled and practical reasons I do not believe the state should have the power to put to death those found guilty of serious crimes. Here is why. South Africans who [...]

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October 26 2014

From Constitutionally Speaking Sun Oct 26 2014, 06:07:41

The Western Cape High Court this week provided the first authoritative interpretation of the nature of the powers of the Public Protector. Although the Constitutional Court will ultimately have to decide whether to endorse the approach taken by the High Court, I believe the High Court judgment got it more or less right. Here is [...]

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October 21 2014

From Constitutionally Speaking Tue Oct 21 2014, 00:43:17

Over the weekend, in a speech lauding the right to freedom of expression, President Jacob Zuma reportedly cautioned that rights -- such as freedom of expression -- should be balanced with responsibilities and that no one should assert their rights while trampling on the rights of others. The idea that you cannot (or should not) [...]

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October 13 2014

From Constitutionally Speaking Mon Oct 13 2014, 10:36:10

Afriforum, an organisation that fights for the preservation of white privilege, is threatening to go to court to have the song of a Cape Town based hip-hop collective called Dookoom declared hate speech. The song (deploying Afrikaans in all its exquisite richness) is entitled "Larney, jou poes". The threat by Afriforum raises several interesting questions [...]

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October 8 2014

From Constitutionally Speaking Wed Oct 8 2014, 01:32:26

Extracts from the so-called "spy tapes" (for some inexplicable reason the complete version has not yet been made available) reveal that former Scorpions head Leonard McCarthy is both an inveterate gossip and a staunch Thabo Mbeki supporter. What the tapes do not provide are credible legal reasons for dropping more than 700 criminal charges against [...]

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September 29 2014

From Constitutionally Speaking Mon Sep 29 2014, 08:30:35

The ad hoc committee of the National Assembly (NA) formed to deal with the fall-out from the Nkandla scandal has all but collapsed after all opposition parties withdrew from it at the end of last week. But why was it set up at all if - as all committee members agree - the committee has [...]

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September 19 2014

From Constitutionally Speaking Fri Sep 19 2014, 01:15:41

The raucous, often childish and rude, and somewhat chaotic debate on the motion of no confidence introduced by some opposition parties against the current speaker of parliament failed to engage in any meaningful manner with principled questions about the proper role of a speaker in a Constitutional democracy like our own. Leaving aside the question [...]

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September 16 2014

From Constitutionally Speaking Tue Sep 16 2014, 01:22:25

In response to a letter written to him by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela about his failure to respond appropriately to her findings regarding the renovations at state expense of his private home at Nkandla, President Jacob Zuma questioned the Public Protector's interpretation of the scope of her powers. Although no South African court has given [...]

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