/ 23 August 2015

Context is everything and omissions can also lead to inaccuracy

?Inge Prins found pregnancy awkward. Her changing physique overrode other aspects of herself; it made her public in unexpected ways
?Inge Prins found pregnancy awkward. Her changing physique overrode other aspects of herself; it made her public in unexpected ways


This article follows a successful request for a right of reply to the report by Kwanele Sisobo headlined It’s a lot of Krok, says Apartheid Museum man.

Our request stated: “Even as we disagree with Mr Sosibo’s understanding of racism, innuendo and opinion, we respect his right to express himself.” We asked that we be “published entirely on our own version”. The agreement was 600-700 words.

Mr Sosibo and many others received the document that informed the core of his report. Many of those others urged us to request a right of reply. The eminent jurist Lord Steyn insisted that, “in law, context is everything”. The inaccuracies also occur as a result of omissions and a lack of context.

Rather a prisoner than a slave is the subject line of my emailed document. This statement immediately conveys the fact that I had a choice. The choice was to apologise for written material that I had distributed throughout South Africa and the rest of the world after 13 years in litigation over my right to the registered trademark The Apartheid Museum®.

I had three, perhaps four, opportunities to apologise to the directors of the South African Apartheid Museum at Freedom Park, its current or erstwhile directors and its legal representatives.

The judgment in Case No 37609/14 correctly states that I did not deny writing the material and that I volunteered information to the court. A fundamental inaccuracy occurs when the journalist does not place these facts in their context.

My full statement reads: “The South African judiciary, post-1994, is a cesspool of racist malfeasance.”

Read in context, my language clearly indicates that I have a quarrel with the South African judiciary post-1994, hence, as the acting judge correctly pointed out, I lodged a challenge on the jurisdiction of the court.

Mindful of the subject heading, Rather a prisoner than a slave, the Mail & Guardian, we contend, could have assisted the public better if it had summarised my willingness to go to prison as succinctly as I did in my document. These many years later, there is nothing at all left for the contesting parties to be fighting about.

All is easily resolved by well-established precepts of law. Once answered, I will be willing to go to jail for having misunderstood the law. Succinctly stated the first is:

Bearing in mind that the trademark was of full force and effect on the register of trademarks and that the owner of the trademark did not give written permission for anyone to use it, does the registrar of companies have any discretion whatsoever to register the memorandum of a company where the name stated in the memorandum of the company will infringe upon the rights of the owner of a trademark which was registered prior to the application for incorporation of the company under discussion?

My second contention can be stated thus:
On what authority can the registrar of companies incorporate a company without a name reservation form – CM5 – which enables the registrar of companies to check the register of trademarks when considering the names of the six companies as proposed by the applicant?

A third contention, linked to the conduct of the registrar of companies described in my second contention is: How is it possible for the courts to leave unanswered the question of how two entirely separate companies can have the same unique registration number?

Finally, the promise of 1994 states that: “Law or conduct inconsistent with the Constitution is invalid, and the obligations imposed by the Constitution must be fulfilled.”

If, and only if, I am wrong on this, I must be imprisoned. The acting judge, on these facts, contends that it is in the public interest that I be imprisoned.

The public knows full well that I am not the first to raise the matter of racism in the judiciary post-1994, neither am I the first willing to go to prison for my beliefs. If my imprisonment is indeed in the public interest then so be it.