An ‘important purpose of section 34 [of the Constitution] is to guarantee the protection of the judicial process to persons who have disputes that can be resolved by law’ and that the right of access to court is ‘foundational to the stability of an orderly society. It ensures the peaceful, regulated and institutionalised mechanisms to resolve disputes, without resorting to self-help. The right of access to court is a bulwark against vigilantism, and the chaos and anarchy which it causes. Construed in this context of the rule of law and the principle against self-help in particular, access to court is indeed of cardinal importance’.The right guaranteed s34 would be rendered meaningless if court orders could be ignored with impunity:the underlying purposes of the right — and particularly that of avoidance of self-help — would be undermined if litigants could decide which orders they wished to obey and which they wished to ignore.
This Business Day cartoon sums up the election rather well. Maybe local government officials and politicians of both the DA and the ANC will now begin to treat people with dignity and respect. Maybe they have learnt from the toilet scandals that one cannot only tell people what they want and what is best for them, but that one must also listen to what they say and take their needs seriously. One lives in hope – despite evidence to the contrary.
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