A question posed to President Mbeki during his allotted question time from ANC MP P. Benghu:
To what extent have the local government elections held on 1 March 2006 consolidated democracy and (b) what steps will the government take to ensure the acceleration of integrated service delivery to ensure a better life for all?
Oh c’mon! Have you ever seen a more loaded softball question?!? That’s up there in the league of Dubya when it comes to making sure you answer some easy questions first and foremost.
If you’re in Cape Town tomorrow and have the day off you might want to mosey on down to Parliament and have a seat in the public gallery because I think tomorrow might be a bit, as they say in the local vernacular, bossies.
The plan is to hold a special debate in which the unlawful bugging of various politicians (both ANC and opposition) and businessmen and the e-mail hoax are going to be discussed. Let’s just say I feel sorry for Minister of Intelligence Ronnie Kasrils as he is going to be getting it from all sides (maybe not from the ANC politicians in public but behind the scenes I’m sure there are words being spoken). You’ll probably be able to identify him by the fact that he won’t be sitting at his seat in parliament but rather will be curled up in the foetal position underneath it. The ANC are also going to launch an internal task team to investigate the whole sordid situation.
Now with fired NIA Director General Billy Masetlha suing the president to be reinstated the intelligence community seems to be in a bit of a mess. Frankly I expect the paranoia, accusations and counter-accusations to continue for quite a while. With the multiple Zuma trials, ANC leadership still unclear and the DA still managing to keep the ANC out of power in Cape Town the political scene is ripe for conspiracy.
Any attempt to limit the functions and jurisdiction of the judiciary is an interference with its independence and therefore a danger to be avoided
When George Bizos starts getting nervous about laws that threaten the independence of the courts then it’s serious stuff. The proposed laws might make the courts more efficient but they seem to do so by eroding the courts independence and it’s ability to act as a counter measure to the Execulature (A totally made up word: Executive and and Legislature combined, as it basically is today).
He’s hoping for some further negotiation before any laws are passed and I hope so as well. It’s really hard to pronounce Execulaturiciary.
...TravelGate is about to burn the government for the second time. Firstly as you read this 22 MP’s are potentially facing fraud charges and now ex-Parliamentary Chief Financial Officer, and TravelGate whistleblower, Harry Charlton is going to go to the CCCMA to try and get his old job back after being fired for a number of non-TravelGate related offences.
Now the cynics out there might think that Charlton’s firing was punishment for his TravelGate snitching, and you may be right, but one thing I’m sure of is that if Charlton is going down he’s going to take a few people down with him.
I always feel a bit uneasy whenever there’s talk of constitutional amendments, especially in South Africa where the ANC government could change the constitution whenever they want to (check out this page to see the ones done so far).
I feel especially uneasy when said constitutional amendments tamper with the balance of government, which is what the current proposed amendment will do. Government is aiming to limit the courts powers even further in the future (can’t have any of those ‘activist judges’ to borrow a phrase from Dubya) by preventing courts from barring an act from coming into comencement. Once the act is in effect I assume it can then be shot down. But as they say posession is nine tenths of the law and once a law is in effect it’s a lot harder to get rid of.
The proposed amendment will also shake up the courts system a bit. The Labour Appeals court is set to disappear (COSATU must be thrilled! Not.) and will create a single High Court of South Africa. So what will the new High Court do that is not done by the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Appeals?
And to add a bit of totalitarian control to the mix the Minister of Justice will now control the budget and administration of the entire court system.
Checks? Balances? Seperation of power? Anyone?