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.
CASAC MEDIA STATEMENT ON THE KILLING OF THE MOTHUTLUNG PROTESTORS
14 January 2014
CASAC is outraged at the killing of two people at the hands of the police during a protest against a lack of water services in Mothutlung in the North West province yesterday.
Citizens would have every right to expect that lessons would have been learned and remedial measures implemented in the aftermath of the killing of Andries Tatane in April 2011, the Marikana massacre in August 2012 and the killing of Mido Macio in Daveyton in February 2013. So far no one has been held to account for the killings of Tatane, Macio and the dead of Marikana. The failure to act against the perpetrators of these killings will only serve to undermine respect for the rule of law.
So despite the protestations of the Minister of Police that a culture of impunity does not permeate the South African Police Service (SAPS) we have seen no evidence of a change in the manner of public order policing.
CASAC Chairman Sipho Pityana says:
“Indeed it appears that a policy of maximum force is prevalent within the SAPS, a view that CASAC outlined in its written submission to the Farlam Commission of Inquiry. The obfuscation of SAPS officials testifying before the Farlam Commission strengthens the perception that the police are not prepared to accept responsibility for their actions and to be formally held accountable.”
We are concerned that over a year after the Human Rights Commission published its report on the killing of Andries Tatane, its recommendations appear to have been ignored by the SAPS – these recommendations included the following:
The Minister of Police must urgently clarify the position of the SAPS with regard to the circumstances when live ammunition may be used, and what measures have been put in place to ensure that the constitutional rights of the public are respected by the SAPS.
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