Our courts will only rescind its own order in the narrowest of circumstances. It was therefore surprising that the dissenting judges in the Jacob Zuma rescission application argued that this application should succeed – despite the fact that Mr Zuma’s lawyers in effect lodged an appeal masquerading as a rescission application. No wonder, then, that reading the dissenting judgment is like watching a snake swallow its own tail.

The deeply entrenched practice in our law of requiring presiding judges who disagree with the outcome of a case, or the reasons advanced by the majority of the court to justify the outcome of that case, to pen or sign onto a dissenting opinion, is a salutary one. It allows for structured judicial dialogue, provides an additional measure to hold judges accountable for their judgments, fosters judicial transparency, and enriches the jurisprudence of our courts as well as our understanding of it. (more…)

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As seductive as certain perspectives of international law may appear to those who disagree with the outcome of the interpretative exercise conducted by this Court in the contempt judgment, sight must not be lost of the proper place of international law, especially in respect of an application for rescission. The approach that my Brother adopts may be apposite in the context of an appeal, where a court is enjoined to consider whether the court a quo erred in its interpretation of the law. Although it should be clear by now, I shall repeat it once more: this is not an appeal, for this Court’s orders are not appealable. I am deeply concerned that seeking to rely on articles of the ICCPR as a basis for rescission constitutes nothing more than sophistry.

Khampepe J
Zuma v Secretary of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector Including Organs of State and Others (CCT 52/21) [2021] ZACC 28 (17 September 2021)
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