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behind this move, and no doubt we have not seen the end of the story, despite the case having now been formally withdrawn.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. 

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Enough of intimidation & blackmail against those who seek to exercise their basic Constitutional Rights

Earlier this year, the ANC repeatedly denounced artist DJ Black Coffee simply for exercising his democratic right to perform in Israel. Then civil society went for journalist Gareth Cliff, depicting him as a moral pariah for daring to put forward an alternate opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Now Dr Mpho Phalatse, MMC for the DA in Gauteng, has become the target of hysterical condemnation for having expressed support for Israel at a South African Friends of Israel conference on Sunday.  This is despite her subsequent clarification that she did so in her personal capacity.