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How Does Law Communicate?, Vol. 27 - 2020, No. 4

Guest Edited by Philippe-Joseph Salazar and Klaus Kotzé

The Sacrificial Communications of the Law During and after Apartheid

, pages: 357-368

This article explores how law communicates socio-economic injustice under fundamentally different legal orders. It consists of a comparison of two appeal court judgment which are more than thirty years apart: Southern Insurance Association v Bailey (1984) and Komape v Minister of Basic Education (2020). Relying on the work of Johan van der Walt, the argument in relation to the Bailey case is that the judgment is characterised by a structural silence in relation to justice which, in turn, reflects a logic of unacknowledged sacrifice. This is a sacrifice of Aristotelian corrective justice at the altar of the exigencies of an apartheid political economy grounded in the exploitation of Black labour. The article then proceeds to an exposition of the recent judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeal in the Komape case. It is argued that, for several reasons, the Komape decision can be understood as the rudiments of a precarious resistance of justice to the socioeconomics of the new legal order. The judgment is explicitly characterised by an acknowledgement of sacrifice. The article concludes with a brief reflection, in the postscript, on the spectre of the unsacrificeable that the Komape judgment inevitably also raises.

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