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.
21 March 2010 marks 50 years since the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, which is today commemorated annually as Human Rights Day in South Africa. To mark this event, the Democratic Governance and Right Unit (DGRU) of the Department of Public Law at the University of Cape Town (UCT), the Political Studies Department at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), are convening a conference to consider some contemporary issues confronting civil society activists and human rights practitioners. Papers, to be presented at the conference in March 2010, are invited to address the following themes / questions:
What is the meaning of Sharpeville in a contemporary context? How should we define the relationship between the state and civil society, contrasting 1960 and the post-1994 era?
Please send an abstract of 300 words to Dr Kristina Bentley, email@example.com by 2 October 2009. Authors of the selected papers will be invited to a workshop in early December to present their papers for discussion ahead of the conference in March 2010. The papers will be published in a special edition of a local peer reviewed journal.BACK TO TOP