Sheila Camerer

Sheila Camerer: My fond memories of Madiba

This sad day brought to mind several personal encounters I had with the Great Man in the 1990s that demonstrate his very special humanity and human kindness: I remember when I was sworn in as a deputy minister in his government at an early evening ceremony followed by a cocktail reception at Tuynhuis. My late…

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SA art at Venice Biennale makes me proud

On a recent visit to Venice I was really impressed by the new South African pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. Having read about it I tracked it down, prepared to be critical because of the scandal around South Africa’s participation two years ago. On the contrary this time I believe the department of arts…

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Cape Town and the Obamas

The hullabaloo around the award of the Freedom of the City to the Obamas (now accepted) reminds me of that remarkable day in September 2006 when then senator Barack Obama addressed a packed meeting at the Centre for the Book, organised and hosted by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the US…

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Child victims’ case cries out for Victims Fund

No case illustrates better the pressing need for a fund specifically to compensate and assist victims of crime than that of nine township children, allegedly sexually abused by German immigrant Werner Braun. Braun fled the country via Namibia at the end of 2005 when police investigations got too hot for him, leaving behind a house…

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The big question

The big question coming out of all the centres of refuge for “foreigners” displaced by xenophobic violence in and around police stations, civic centres and churches is where do we go from here? What plans are on the table to protect, sustain and eventually reintegrate into the community some 30 000 (and growing) displaced people,…

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Proposed process for disciplining judges may be unconstitutional

Judges have got their knickers in a knot over the Judicial Services Commission Amendment Bill now before the NCOP – so much so that the Judicial Services Commission (“JSC”) made an extensive and detailed submission on the Bill when it was before the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development last year. However…

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SA civil society triumphs

Amidst all the gloom and doom nowadays, one or two bright spots stand out. Firstly, whatever one thinks of the ANC’s new team, Polokwane demonstrated that democracy is alive and well in our “liberation” ruling party. Contrast what happened in the ANC with what has not happened to Zanu-PF and Swapo, for example. Secondly, civil…

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Champion Chief Justice Langa

Top marks to South Africa’s Chief Justice Pius Langa for coming in to bat for the independence of the media and the important role the judiciary can play in this regard. Last Sunday he said that the judiciary should “jealously protect” the media and their right to free expression, because both the media and the…

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Zuma adds to national depression

Adding to the national depression is the news that the president of the ANC and the putative next president of our country, Jacob Zuma, has approached the courts of a fellow SADC member, Mauritius, slagging off President Thabo Mbeki and our institutions, accusing him of using the National Prosecuting Authority to engineer a political conspiracy…

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SA ambassador opposes UN ‘rape as war weapon’ resolution

I was disconcerted to read in the Sunday Times this weekend that South Africa has led an effort in the UN General Assembly to block a draft resolution condemning states that use rape as a weapon of war and intimidation. This is very odd, particularly in view of the fact that one of the most…

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