Court-bashing Bedfellows

Blade Nzimande, South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education, and Senator Ted Cruz, the fire-breathing Texas Republican who is one of the angry mob competing for his party’s presidential nomination, have something in common. It is more than a propensity to grandstand.

The General Secretary of the South African Communist Party and the Canadian-born son of an anti-Castro Cuban could hardly be farther apart ideologically but they both are in a remarkably similar froth about judges with whom they do not agree.

Dr Nzimande, in his 14 823 word political report to last week’s SACP special congress, charged that “some in the judiciary” were part of an “anti-majoritarian pseudo-liberal offensive against the democratically elected executive and parliament”.

He singled out Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke. It seems a talk the respected jurist gave in Washington in 2012 remains stuck in the Zumacratic craw on the theory it “advanc(ed) an agenda that neither derives from our constitution or the political settlement reached in the early 1990’s.” Continue reading “Court-bashing Bedfellows”

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They fought for slavery

The US National Park Service lovingly maintains more than 70 battlefields and other sites related to the war between North and South – the Union and the rebel Confederacy — which saw 600 000 Americans butchered by each other between April 1861 and April 1865.

The sites include Fort Sumter in Charleston harbour at whose federal garrison South Carolinian secessionists fired the war’s opening salvo. Replicas of the original mortars still squat a few blocks from Mother Emanuel AME church where, two weeks ago, Dylann Roof slaughtered nine African-Americans at Bible study, hoping, he said, to start another war.

“No, you’ve raped our women, you’ve stolen and you’ve taken over the country, so no, this must be done,” he reportedly told his victims when one them pleaded with him to reconsider.

A century and a half earlier, Henry Benning said much the same thing. He was one of the commissioners dispatched by South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Lousiana to whip up support for secession in other slave states. In a letter to the Virginia legislature, he wrote: Continue reading “They fought for slavery”