The articles in this issue of Law, Democracy and Development deal with a diverse range or topics. most or which tie in with some of the themes covered in detail in previous volumes of this journal, such as labour law, the prisons system and reconciliation. The topics covered include prison management. sexual harassment in the workplace and reconciliations on an international level. A topic which has not received much attention as yet in legal literature in South Africa, and which will be addressed from a specific perspective in this issue, is that of government procurement.
The imprisonment of offenders of remains a subject of contention worldwide, with proponents arguing alternatively for stricter sentencing regimes, for improved security or for the introduction of more effective programmes of rehabilitation. However, despite the fact that prisons fall under the constant scrutiny of the media and feature prominently in divergent political debates, generally little is known about the administration of these institutions.
The Constitution provides that when organs of state contract for goods or services, they must comply with, inter alia, the following principles: fairness, competitiveness and cost-effectiveness. In brief, this means that organs of state should make use of competition when procuring goods or services. Organs of state should 'shop around' and attract the maximum number of contractors who will participate in such competition. An organ of state should then choose to contract with whoever offers the best deal. In other words the aim is to ensure the attainment of the best value for money - public money should be spent in an effective and efficient manner. Those who participate in government procurement procedures should also be treated fairly and even-handedly; there should be no bias in the award of contracts.
In Grobler v Naspers (Grobler) the Cape High Court held an employer vicariously liable for sexual harassment perpetrated by one of its employees. The employer (and the perpetrator) appealed and in its judgment, reported as Media 24 Ltd and Another v Grobler (Media24) . The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) confirmed the liability of the employer, albeit on different grounds.
Reconciliation is frequently narrowly understood as taking place between individuals or groups at the national level In a specific country. Yet it occurs at many levels in a nation, including the personal, the interpersonal, the community, and the national level. However, reconciliation can and often needs to occur between international actors. This is because relationships between states and other actors on the international stage periodically deteriorate.