Quote of the week

The unhappy fact that it is journalists, investigating organs of state and officialdom and the political class and their involvement in corrupt practices to loot the State’s resources, who, by so doing, attract the attention of powerful and influential persons who are capable of suborning the apparatus of the State to smell out their adversaries, cannot be ignored. The examples of abuse of the system have been addressed elsewhere in this judgment. Moreover, the respondents’ perspectives assume that the designated judge is not lied to and is diligent… In my view, in the absence of a rebuttal, this example illustrates a grave vulnerability in RJCA that such an apparent abuse could occur. The common cause examples of blatant lies being told to the designated judge further exacerbates the vulnerability of the system.

Sutherland J
Amabhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism NPC and Another v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and Others
24 November 2011

Cabinet Statement on “transformation of judicial system”

2.8  Assessment on the transformation of the judicial system and the role of the judiciary in a developmental state to be carried out with a reputable research institution

In the main, this assessment is three fold: firstly, to ensure the judiciary conforms to the transformation mandate as envisaged in the Constitution of the Republic in terms of non-racialism, gender, disability and other transformational variables. Secondly, access to justice on all levels of the courts from lower courts through to Constitutional Courts. Thirdly, to affirm the independence of the judiciary as well as that of the executive and parliament with a view to promoting interdependence and interface that is necessary to realize transformation goals envisaged by the Constitution.

Cabinet agreed to the following approach to the transformation of the judicial system:

  • That the assessment of the decisions of the Constitutional Court be undertaken by a research institution to establish how the decisions of the court have impacted on the lives of ordinary citizens and how these decisions have influenced socio-economic transformation and the reform of the law.
  • The Judicial Education Institute be used as a vehicle for transformation through aspirant and serving judicial officers may acquire the requisite legal skills to contribute to the evolving local and global constitutional jurisprudence;
  • Measures be taken to enhance the efficiency and the integrity of the Judicial Service Commission and the Magistrates Commission in the execution of their Constitutional mandate of facilitating the racial, gender and other Constitutional prescripts in the judiciary.
  • An appropriate framework be established for the regular monitoring of the implementation of the court decisions by all State Departments.
  • The mandates and compositions of the South African Law Reform Commission and the Rules Board of Law to be reviewed with a view to enhance the research capacity of the State to be able to lead transformation in the fields that have greater impact on the lives of the people, such as socio-economic transformation, land reform, mining, aviation and many more.
  • Appropriate mechanisms be developed to facilitate for regular interface between the three spheres of the State to enhance synergy and constructive engagement among them in pursuit of common transformative goals that are geared to benefit the society at large.
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