Little has been said about the court ruling that awarded damages to Robert McBride, the chief of police in Ekurhuleni, writes John Kane-Berman in Business Day.  The judge ordered the Citizen to pay McBride R200 000 in damages for querying McBride's suitability for his post.

The judge found that the paper should have taken into account that he had been granted amnesty for a 1986 attack, and should have  put the attack into the context of the  struggle against apartheid.

 Kane-Berman writes that the judge "Maluleke also makes a bold finding
about history. He describes as 'factually incorrect' a statement by
Kenny that 'apartheid was in retreat in 1986'. He says McBride and one
other person gave “credible evidence” to the contrary.

"There is, in fact, abundant
evidence that apartheid was in retreat in 1986. It was the year in
which PW Botha abolished the pass laws; black trade unions had been
recognised in 1979; and the Group Areas Act was breaking down. Other
instances could be cited. But that is not the point. Historians,
journalists, politicians, lawyers, and ordinary people can argue about
history and current events and interpretations thereof until the cows
come home. They always have and they always will. The matter can hardly
be settled by a pronouncement from the bench," the column concludes.

The Citizen plans to appeal against the ruling. 

Click here to read the full report, posted on Business Day's website. Kane-Berman is CE of the SA Institute of Race Relations.