The fact that we feature the DA’s leader in Parliament on our cover, is not an indication that Noseweek has thrown in its lot with the DA, although we do remain profoundly critical of the ANC because of its indulgence of criminality at all levels of the party, and for that reason recommend to all and sundry to cast their vote elsewhere in the coming elections.
We are not aligned to any party: we value our independence too highly. It is essential if we are to be able to speak truth to power, whoever may wield it.
The profile of Lindiwe Mazibuko is but one in a series of profiles of people who wield power or influence in public life that Noseweek has already published, or still intends to publish. The focus is on people who, although in leading positions, have remained just a name, a face and a one-line quote in the press. It is, I believe, with some justification that we pose the question on the cover “Who is this woman?” Turn to "The woman who would be President" in this issue to find the third dimension: a woman whose depth of character and extraordinary background and upbringing make her uniquely equipped to understand and represent the full diversity of South African society.
This month we have great pleasure in reporting the successful outcomes of two court cases involving two readers who have entrusted their stories to Noseweek in previous issues. The success they, and we, seek is simple – and yet so unbelievably difficult to achieve: justice – starting with a fair hearing. So there is cause for celebration.
Too often Noseweek is the only place where those who have suffered injustice at the hands of the powerful get a fair hearing, and see the perpetrator confronted.
The so-called justice system takes years and costs the fortune of a lifetime, more often adding to the injustice suffered by the victim, rather than alleviating it.
The way banks and other financial institutions for years have routinely exploited these features of the system to their own advantage, amounts to yet another abuse of power.
The extent to which senior lawyers, the law societies, Bar councils and, with rare exceptions, even the courts have remained blind to the situation, or continued to pretend ignorance of it, amounts to connivance in the abuse and is a measure of the extent to which they themselves have been corrupted.
Who needs a lawyer when you have truth on your side?
Not too long ago, that would have been a foolish question; a pathetic expression of wishful thinking. Scarcely yesterday judges spoke only to God, only advocates spoke to judges and only attorneys spoke to advocates (in legal Latin). Ordinary mortals took their chances by putting endless numbers of coins in the slot machine known as their attorney’s “trust” account.
But, it seems, there is real transformation in our high courts with the arrival of a new generation of judges – many, but not all of them, black – who were reared in a democratic era, closer to the ground, and whose social sense and conscience has not been corrupted by years of lucrative briefs from banks and other corporates that are used to buying their way through any
“Robust common sense” (an old phrase gaining new currency in our courts), common decency, common fairness and the common man are, here and there, at last getting a hearing. As in the two judgments we report in this issue: that of Judge Shokoane in the case brought by Absa Bank to seize the home of retired navy captain Teboho "Tommy" Molotsi ("Absa continues to speak with forked tongue" in this issue), followed by that of Acting Judge Wright in the case brought by athletics coach and administrator Laraine Lane against Sascoc ("Laraine Lane triumphs in Sascoc conflict" in this issue).
At the final hearing of his case, Captain Molotsi appeared without legal representation: his lawyers pulled out midway through the case as it was compromising their relationship with Absa – a shockingly common occurrence that has yet to attract comment from a single judge. The untoward influence of banks on our judicial system remains a taboo subject.
Both Mrs Lane and Captain Molotsi, immediately after succeeding in their cases, made a special point of calling Noseweek to thank us for our moral support in having told the world their tale when no-one else would listen.
I am sure you will share our pleasure in the moment.
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