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Ben Trovato

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘Law’ Category

One great Act deserves another dozen or so great Acts

Life in South Africa is like a game of pool, except here the white and coloured balls are superfluous and if you don’t keep an eye on it, the black sinks itself.

Like the game, there are old rules and new rules. One of the old rules is the Promotion of Access to Information Act. It turned 10 this year. Don’t be surprised if it pops up on eBay. One piece of legislation, barely used, still in original wrapping.

As any idiot knows, everything in the universe has to balance itself out. Operating in accordance with Newton’s third law – that every action has an equal and opposite reaction – the government’s decision was a fait accompli. It is only by putting the Promotion of Access to Information Act and the Protection of Information Act on the same statute books that we can achieve the kind of balance needed to keep this great country on an even keel. It’s a yin-yang, yen-yuan thing; a pinch of Taoism mixed with a dash of Maoism.

Right now, we have way too much legislation that lacks a converse. Here, then, are a few amendments to existing laws which we can look forward to as Julius Malema and other oiks of his ilk point their loathsome snouts towards the next general election.

Postal Services Act: the amendment will provide for severe penalties on anyone who fails to submit letters to department censors prior to mailing said letters.

Defence Act: the amendment absolves the minister of any accountability to parliament, the public or any form of supreme being, and allows him/her to declare war on neighbouring states as, and when, the mood takes him/her.

Higher Education Act: the requirements for entrance to any university will be a pass in at least one subject, the ability to communicate in the language of the student’s choice and proof of ANC membership.

Environmental Conservation Act: the country’s natural heritage will continue to be protected for as long as mineral deposits remain undiscovered.

Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act: the amendment empowers the executive to punish corrupt politicians by posting them to rat-infested foreign hellholes such as Washington DC.

Media Development and Diversity Act: stagnant until the charming Mr Gupta came along with a train load of cash to start the New Age, South Africa’s first newspaper for the blind.

Mental Health Care Act: the amendment allows the state to commit journalists to mental asylums should they insist on printing what they perceive to be the truth.

Nursing Act: nurses at state hospitals must weigh a minimum of 150kg and be visibly intolerant of the sick. They should also be committed misanthropists with a predilection for long lunch breaks, and have the ability to sleep soundly while on night shift.

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act: to be overhauled by the mechanic who fixes the Robben Island ferry.

Organised Crime Act: government will redouble its efforts to become as organised as criminals. This will be done by sitting in on their meetings and shadowing them when they go to work.

Basic Conditions of Employment Act: the amendment provides for employment in the public service to be conditional on presentation of an ANC membership card. All other conditions are scrapped.

Compensation for Occupational Injuries Act: hangovers and Millionaire’s Wrist will be added to the list of injuries frequently sustained by cabinet ministers. Compensation will be in the form of Dom Perignon and portable money-counting machines.


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