My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
he JSC, in its answering affidavit sworn to by a member who is a senior advocate, refused to divulge the relevant facts by stating that it was the policy of the JSC ‘not to publish how members voted with regard to any particular decision’ and that ‘the JSC has never published the particulars of the vote with regard to the size of the majority and the way each member decided’. An evasive answer like this by senior counsel on behalf of a body like the JSC cannot be countenanced. It is the number of members who voted either way, not their identities, that is relevant. The JSC knew that this information was crucial for the determination of an issue legitimately raised and upon which the court would be required to adjudicate. Nor is this attitude of the JSC reconcilable with our constitutional democracy which values openness and transparency, and this is particularly so when regard is had to the constitutional functions and obligations of the JSC. – Supreme Court of Appeal in a judgment challenging the exclusion of the Western Cape Premier from a JSC hearingBACK TO TOP