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
12 December 2012

Call for action on Khayelitsha Safety Campaign

A Call to Partners, Colleagues, Members of The Media, and Friends of the SJC:

We Need Your Support To Bring Safety and Stability To Khayelitsha!

As you are reading this, Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa and others are preparing for a court battle in the Cape High Court tomorrow to prevent the Commission of Inquiry into policing in Khayelitsha from going ahead. The Commission was announced by Premier Helen Zille following years of campaigning by the SJC and partner organisations, and had already begun it’s preliminary hearings when the Minister filed for an interdict to have it stopped citing “political” motivation. 

This is not about politics. Each day the commission is delayed the safety of those living in Khayelitsha – and millions more in similar communities across South Africa – is jeopardised.  You have the power to prevent this injustice, by supporting the Campaign for Safe Communities over the next 48 hours.  

Safety in Khayelitsha and Other Townships

Over the past year there has been a surge in vigilante killings in Khayelitsha as residents increasingly lose faith in the Police (both SAPS and Metro Police) to keep them safe and prosecute criminals.  Over the past three years, there has been a steady increase in murders and sex crimes in the area. The Commission will independently assess why levels of safety continue to spiral, looking beyond Police to other challenges including the under-developed urban environment and safety in schools.  It will further  allow community members, police officers and experts to share their experiences of crime to an independent panel.

While the situation in Khayelitsha is particularly bad – by some Police estimates the worst in the country – similar circumstances exist in townships across South Africa.  The Commission will produce a blueprint of the challenges at hand and propose possible interventions which will have national relevance and impact.  

This however is now being threatened by Minister Mthethwa’s attempt to interdict the commission from going ahead, and the failure of  Premier Helen Zille to include integral safety units – like the City of Cape Town’s Metro Police and Anti-land Invasion Unit – in the terms of reference. 

Get Involved!  

Tomorrow – Thursday 13 December 2012 – the SJC in partnership with TAC, Equal Education, UCT and UWC academics, The Right To Know Campaign, The Legal Resource Centre, Simelela, CSVR, Ndifuna Ukwazi and others who have come together to form the Campaign for Safe Communities – will assemble outside the Cape High Court at 10h00 to hold a People’s Commisison of Inquiry.  Inside the court, the SJC will be opposing the Minister’s application to stop the Commission   At approximately 12h00 we will march to Parliament to hand over an open letter to President Jacob Zuma, Premier Helen Zille, Minister Nathi Mthethwa, and Mayor Patricia de Lille. On Thursday evening, we will be camping outside the Cape High Court until the interdict hearing is concluded on Friday afternoon.  

Show your support for the Campaign for Safe Communities by doing one or more of the following:

  • Sign the open letter online at sjc.org.za/safety
  • ‘Like,’ share or invite friends to the campaign’s protest event on Facebook 
  • Follow the Safe Communities Twitter account @FixSAPS
  • Attend the People’s Commission of Inquiry and march at the Cape High Court from 10h00 on Thursday
  • Visit the camp out on Thursday evening on the steps of the Cape High Court
  • Circulate this email widely

For more information on how to get involved contact Bruce Baigrie 0824523783.

For press queries please contact Axolile Notywala on 0742895220.

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