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Oudtshoorn. 3 August 2012. 13h35. Madam Justice Elizabeth Baartman yesterday morning asked whether the parties, in the Equality Court matter Gordon April v Oudtshoornline and Drewan Baird, had attempted a meeting of the minds…
Adv John van der Berg, for April, consulted his instructing attorney, Mr Clyde Avontuur, “having been roped in at the last minute”, and announced to the Court that no settlement was deemed possible.
And what about Mr Baird? Did he think a settlement was possible?
But of course, My Lady! Settlements are always possible and in this instance demanded as the issue is really about the people of Oudtshoorn.
Baartman was inclined to agree and ordered the parties to meet, and then to reconvene at 14h30.
OO’s fight is with the Mayor, not April. And April, by the reckoning of OO, will not be Mayor come September. No time should be spent on a matter that does not involve the Mayor.
The issue, so OO was informed, was different from what the considerations would have been had the matter be heard in the High Court, or any Court other than the Equality Court.
In the Equality Court “equalness” is considered.
Therefore OO’s right to criticise and even ridicule the Mayor, as a public and elected official, remains inviolate.
But an individual’s educational status, for instance, may not be used to deride because that educational status may be a function of social circumstances beyond that individual’s control – circumstances such as Apartheid, and in April’s case, it was claimed, it was, in fact, Apartheid.
Frankly, having perceived first hand April’s anguish at the reference to his education, I was quite disposed to apologise – I readily admit that it was clear to me that no other reference to April scathed more than this one: Education.
Therefore, after proper consideration, during which the original text was changed a few times, the following settlement between Baird and April was made an Order of Court:
Here then, for the record, is OO’s apology to the Mayor – exactly as the Order of Court demands:
“Ek besef dat my verwysing na mnr Gordon April as die ‘standerd 4 klong’ mnr April te nagekom het. Ek aanvaar dat mnr April se onderwyspeil toegeskryf kan word aan sosiale omstandighede buite sy beheer as gevolg van Apartheidsbeleid. Ek vra omverskoning daarvoor.” (sic)
It was ironic that I received notification of the NPA’s decision to prosecute April in the Regional Court on charges of theft and attempting to defeat the ends of justice as the settlement was drafted.
Quomodo te desiderare potero si non discesseris?