Law and Civil Society

An issue that has particularly gripped our country over the past few weeks concerned the charges brought against Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan by the National Prosecuting Authority. Serious concern was expressed over the timing and motivations behind this move, and no doubt we have not seen the end of the story, despite the case having now been formally withdrawn.

On being approached for comment, the Board said that it echoed and endorsed the many statements that have been made in support of Minister Gordhan from across the political spectrum. Minister Gordhan, we said, is “a public servant of outstanding integrity, dedication and expertise”, and we salute him for the outstanding work he is doing in addressing the many complex challenges facing our country’s economy”.

In the end, the outcome can be seen as having been another demonstration of the supremacy of the rule of law ,  the strength of our civil society and the role and importance of our free and independent media The SAJBD has  absolute faith in our democratic institutions and importantly in our judiciary’s ability to protect our constitutionally enshrined democratic rights and  freedoms. These have been left standing tall in the wake of the Gordhan affair, and as a result South Africa is a much better place than it was six weeks ago. 

Recent Articles

Durban Jewish Exhibition

Since its initial conceptualisation in 1919, the historic Durban Jewish Club has been not only the centre of Jewish communal life in Durban, but a frequently used public space for the broader society. The building itself, "surrounded by bush, rippling dunes of corrugated white sand mingled with ochre earth", was officially opened on 4 May 1931. Since then, it has been host to generations of people, with a history that has witnessed wars and political unrest, conferences and public meetings and music and theatre performances. 

Sara Gon compares the experience of Penny Sparrow with that of Bongani Masuku

“COSATU has got members here even on this campus; we can make sure that for that side it will be hell”

“COSATU is with you, we will do everything to make sure that whether its at Wits University, whether its at Orange Grove, anyone who does not support equality and dignity, who does not support the rights of other people must face the consequences even if it means that we will do something that may necessarily cause what is regarded as harm…”

The Bongani Masuku Judgement - Implications for South African Law

Determining where the boundary lies between legitimate freedom of expression and prohibited ‘hate speech’ can never be an exact science. During the flurry of debate that took place around the controversial Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill earlier this year, this was something that came through especially strongly. Err too much on one side, and victims of genuinely hurtful and insulting verbal abuse are left without a remedy; err too much on the other, and a fundamental pillar of democracy is undermined.