FOR the past five years, South African consumers have been protected by laws designed to stop them getting too deeply into debt. No doubt legislators had in mind naive borrowers who genuinely overestimated their capacity to repay a loan or were bullied by sales staff with an eye to commission.
But since the law came into effect, courts have also seen more financially literate consumers trying to use this legislation to stop creditors taking action when they aren't paid what they are owed.
Mabye it's the wind. Perhaps all that salty air does something to the people who live there. But the windy city certainly has the rest of us bemused. This week we hear that the Port Elizabeth magistrate's courts are in chaos with no chief magistrate and attempts to appoint someone having come unstuck.
There's nasty litigation about who should get the job - the acting incumbent or the candidate approved by the Minister of Justice - and a local newspaper reports that infighting over the issue has been causing problems for more than a year. Meanwhile the municipality is in similar turmoil, at least as far as its handling of tenders is concerned.
As a society, we've become more understanding when a woman murders an abusive partner. It's hard not to feel sympathy for someone who can take no more physical and emotional damage, and kills a monster.
But what about an abused woman who kills her own children? Should we feel sympathy for her?
URGENT internal memo circulated in a city near you this week: “Memo – compulsory for all staph members.” Even better than this little charmer, sent on by a friend, was something I spotted recently at a restaurant in Clarens. The menu board’s offering included “pie and wages”.
On the day we exchanged these howlers, the first important court decision of the year was handed down. As I read the judgment, I began to see some significance in the fact that it was delivered just as many South African children began school again while teachers, education officials and politicians fought their old fight over whether pupils should be “turned” in the direction of maths and science.
THERE’S a book in it. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised to find that some publisher has already set a release date to coincide with the anniversary of the central event: the armed robbery of two men during December 1993 in central Mississippi, US.
Two sisters, Jamie and Gladys Scott, were subsequently charged and convicted of armed robbery and given two consecutive life sentences each. They had served 16 years when, last week, just a day before year-end, the governor of Mississippi, Haley Barbour, decided they should be released.