Editor’s note: The opinions expressed here are those of the authors. View more opinion on ScoonTV.
In an article published on IOL titled “Hi Mzansi, have we seen justice?” South Africa’s Minister of Tourism asks pertinent questions on the status quo in South Africa concerning justice. She lays bare the facts on the prevailing structure of the economic system, its history, and its enablers.
Her article seeks to provoke thought processes of the citizenry and set the tone for a discussion on challenges facing the country. True to form, the article has become a subject of personal attacks from organizations and individuals bespectacled in rose-colored glasses. Those glasses prevent them from providing a candid critique of South Africa’s body politic and current situation.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Raymond Zondo, a man whose vision is clouded by his ambition to oversee the injustice system, now leads a pack of devious groupings and individuals to the plumb of the colonial structure.
In her article, Lindiwe Sisulu bemoans the lack of radical transformation in the economic system where top 10% own more than 80% of the means of production. She writes how select blacks amass wealth at the expense of the rest of the black population.
These are the same people co-opted into the echelons and stratums of borrowed artificial intelligence and morality on condition that they remain as willing ornaments of imperialism and colonialism. Sisulu’s views are nothing new, the majority of South Africans have consistently raised similar points.
However, Sisulu’s article is upsetting the spines of colonial clerks and their masters because she’s expected, as a Cabinet member, to uphold injustice and perpetuate European scrounged barbary.
From the onset, it should be noted that a constitution must not be confused with justice. It’s ridiculous to even assume justice can be summarized and compressed into a document that was engineered by scholars of European values.
Some of the interpreters of law are intent on preserving European values and dominance over natives. More so, some of these interpreters are themselves black people. South Africa’s constitution is often lauded as the best constitution in the world. But the professional moralists don’t bother confronting the events ranging from 1652 to 1996, before the constitution came into effect on February 4th, 1997.
The events that unfolded during the period don’t resemble any form of human progression. Especially the progression needed to come up with a constitution that could be referred to as the “best in the world.”
In essence, the struggle for real black emancipation was put to rest in 1996. That’s why they call South Africa a constitutional democracy. The Judiciary is the colonists’ biggest trump card, too. It’s the same Judiciary that approved the neoliberal constitution. Any dissenting voices within the bench are persecuted and muzzled.
So, it’s unsurprising that any criticism of the unjust system invites the well-coordinated wrath of colonial paper pushers and their masters. Justice cannot be defined or limited to civil freedoms. Rather, justice ought to have the majority, black people, owning all the land. This is a non-negotiable material condition necessary for the advancement of human life anywhere in Africa.
Our “best constitution in the world” merely protects the rights of colonists and advances the interests of European settlers. Natives only enjoy the cosmetic and widely broadcasted elements of it.
On the Department of Justice’s website, it stated that “South African common law is mainly the 17th and 18th century Roman-Dutch law that was transplanted to the Cape. This forms the basis of modern South African Law and has binding authority…”
A European legal concept has binding authority in an African country when not a single European country has infused African values into its jurisprudence. The closest to this is exchange programs for scholarship on European values.
This is how the University of California, Berkeley School of Law introduces Roman-Dutch Law,
“The rediscovery of Justinian’s compilation of Roman law by Italian jurists in the twelfth century launched a new legal scholarship in Europe. This new scholarship flourished and evolved into what was known as the ius commune, a shared legal tradition that combined Roman law and canon law into a common system of legal thought, inflected in each country or region by local law and custom. Reintroducing Justinian’s sixth-century Digest, Code, and Institutes to Europe as the Corpus iuris Civilis, the Italians were the foremost scholars of Roman law until the French took over that role in the sixteenth century, when legal humanism refocused emphasis on the original sources and context of classical Roman law.
This new legal humanism culminated with the Dutch jurists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, who brought new insight to the examination of the
Roman sources while innovating approaches to the study and synthesis of local customary law within a classical Roman framework. The flowering of Dutch scholarship and its prominence in European legal culture went hand in hand with the expansion of Dutch economic and political power in Europe and abroad as it expanded trade throughout colonial territories in Africa and South Asia. The Dutch system of law that was exported to its colonies was thus dominated by the Roman-Dutch tradition of the time…”
European injustice was exported into South Africa, and other African countries as justice, and here lies our problem. The values we have adopted from a European legal system exist for the purpose of sustaining European values in Africa. We are indebted to the scholarship of Byzantine Generals.
Our civilization is suspect, and our common law is divorced from blackness and African values.
To quote Tshepo Madlingozi, “Our legal system is evolutionary, and not transformative…”
What we have is the metamorphosis and evolution of Europe into the African value system. The judiciary and financial systems exist to promote this evolution. In 1913, the Native Land Act was enacted to prohibit any purchase of lease of land by black people outside dedicated reserves. Section 25 (1) of South Africa’s constitution stipulates that “No one may be deprived of property except in terms of law of general application, and no law may permit arbitrary deprivation of property.”
The Group Areas Act of 1950 was established for the advancement of segregation. For example, black people in Sophiatown were forcibly moved to Soweto. Then, Sophiatown was turned into a white-only area.
The government website contains a copy of Cecil John Rhodes’s will. Inside the will, colonist European Cecil John Rhodes gives instructions on how his land and estate in an African country must be managed. Not a single black person participated in the making of the Union of South Africa in 1910, yet the Freedom Charter of 1955 begins with the words, “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black or white, and no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of the people.”
These historical instances remind us that for as long as the constitution of the land does not directly and robustly address these ills, justice is yet to be served. For as long as the constitution shies away from the words “apartheid” and “colonialism,” freedom will remain paper-based and more of a prescription than an attainment.
The constitution is a watered-down continuation of Apartheid-era laws. It consists of friendly and flowery language while the substance remains the same. Under this constitution, it is illegal for black people to repossess land from white people when we have a charter that says South Africa belongs to all who live in it.
It is impossible for natives to push white people into dry reserves when the constitution says no law may allow arbitrary deprivation of property. It is an illegality to seek for redress, restitution, and redistribution of land.
There is absolutely zilch provision for black self-determination. At most, the constitution provides for the continuation of a system responsible for the subjugation of black people.
In July of 2021, black people were killed by Indian vigilante groups for simply passing through Phoenix. More black people were prevented from accessing affluent areas like Umhlanga unless they produced proof that they were residents.
In Marikana, black miners were killed for demanding better wages. The current President is even assuring capital via email that concomitant action was going to be taken on the miners. And indeed, concomitant action was taken.
Meanwhile, the residents of Xolobeni are embroiled in war with the Minister of Energy who intends on pushing them out of their land to allow for Australian Mineral Sand Resources to expand its mining reach.
Also, Cornwall Hill High school faced allegations of racism against black students. Finally, a former DDG in the Ministry of Fisheries had a commercial bank terminate their relationship with her. The crime she committed? She blew the whistle of corrupt activities by colonial syndicates and their black runners.
In those instances, out of many more, not a single fictional purveyor of morality and justice condemned those brutal acts and colonial attitudes. Apartheid is so entrenched that any critics face exclusion from the financial system. Some people have been arrested for using words that even the prosecutors are unable to decipher the meaning of.
Lindiwe Sisulu must be defended from the barrage of attacks from colonial clerks and organizations involved in the business of mummifying apartheid and embalming colonialism.
No right-thinking person must draw inspiration from individuals who flouted their own procedures in incarcerating President JG Zuma. The same individuals who see justice in the continued persecution of President JG Zuma. They are the people who see injustice in trying to transform the economic system within the confines of the unjust system.
What kind of “justice” criminalizes people for having opinions? What kind of “justice” requires individuals to withdraw their opinions? Justice cannot be defined by those trained in interpreting colonial laws.
Perhaps, if Ubuntu had a binding effect on our constitution, the humanness of African values would reign supreme. It would inform the structure of the economic system.
Sisulu’s article is enough to provoke black people into actively working towards an African Legal System that would among other things encourage the migration of pathetic blacks into Europe. Niwagcine lamazwi.
Subscribe to get early access to podcasts, events, and more!