Quote of the week

Although judicial proceedings will generally be bound by the requirements of natural justice to a greater degree than will hearings before administrative tribunals, judicial decision-makers, by virtue of their positions, have nonetheless been granted considerable deference by appellate courts inquiring into the apprehension of bias. This is because judges ‘are assumed to be [people] of conscience and intellectual discipline, capable of judging a particular controversy fairly on the basis of its own circumstances’: The presumption of impartiality carries considerable weight, for as Blackstone opined at p. 361 in Commentaries on the Laws of England III . . . ‘[t]he law will not suppose possibility of bias in a judge, who is already sworn to administer impartial justice, and whose authority greatly depends upon that presumption and idea’. Thus, reviewing courts have been hesitant to make a finding of bias or to perceive a reasonable apprehension of bias on the part of a judge, in the absence of convincing evidence to that effect.

L'Heureux-Dube and McLachlin JJ
Livesey v The New South Wales Bar Association [1983] HCA 17; (1983) 151 CLR 288
10 April 2012

Yet the ANC’s own “Second Transition” document acknowledges that there are worrying signs in the country, which can only be attributable to weak leadership. The documents quote the National Planning Commission’s indicators of “societies in decline” relevant to South Africa today: “rising corruption, weakening of state and civil society institutions, poor economic management, skills and capital flight, politics dominated by short-termism, ethnicity or factionalism, and the lack of maintenance of infrastructure and standards of service.” The implication therefore is that only the ANC is allowed to debate the state of the nation and anyone else who attempts to do so must be beaten into submission. It is a tactic Mantashe’s arch nemesis, Julius Malema, mastered – to insult and ridicule anyone who dares to have a different view. – Ranjeni Munusamy in a Daily Maverick column about the ANC response to remarks made by Nedbank chairman Reuel Khoza on the state of the country’s political leadership

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