William Saunderson-Meyer
3 minute read
12 Oct 2019
9:09 am

Whiff of something rotten

William Saunderson-Meyer

At a public meeting, Jones vowed to ‘set an example’ of Etzebeth, whom he accused of ‘getting away with murder’.

Buang Jones of the Human Rights Commission in Johannesburg. Picture: Veli Nhlapo

It’s not yet the full-blown stench that makes the stomach heave. It’s just an occasional malodorous whiff, subtly alerting us to something going off. In this case, it’s the first signals that the most important aspect of South Africa’s post-apartheid democracy, an evenhanded and independent judicial system, is under toxic strain. A few rot spots are beginning to show. It was the establishment of the so-called Chapter Nine institutions – particularly the office of the public protector (PP) and the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) – that held greatest promise in foiling any attack on democracy. That’s not how it...