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.
06 July 2011
CASAC STATEMENT ON STORY OF IMMINENT ARREST OF PUBLIC PROTECTOR
CASAC is deeply disturbed at news of the possible imminent arrest of the Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela. This threat demands an urgent response from all right-thinking South Africans.
The timing suggests an attempt is being made to intimidate the Public Protector, as she prepares to release her new report on the SAPS leases in Durban, following as it does the unlawful raid on her offices in March 2011.
The Public Protector is one of a number of institutions established under Chapter Nine of the Constitution to support democracy. The Public Protector’s task is to fight corruption and maladministration in the public service. We need a strong, independent Public Protector if we are to combat corruption and improve public service delivery.
Thus, if the Public Protector is arrested it will be a dark day in South Africa’s young democracy.
While no-one is above the law and the allegations against Advocate Madonsela’s will need to proceed through the usual criminal justice process, the onus will be on the prosecuting authorities, including the police, to demonstrate that her prosecution was in the public interest and had nothing to do with her investigation into the probity of the SAPS in the procurement of accommodation in Pretoria and Durban.
We call upon all South Africans, who care about the rule of law and the Chapter Nine institutions, to join together in defence of the Public Protector. Sipho Pityana, Chairperson of CASAC says that “it is disconcerting that ordinary South Africans have to stand up to protect an institution that is in fact designed to protect us.”
In view of the critical role that the office of the Public Protector plays in our constitutional framework, CASAC also calls on President Zuma to clarify the nature of the investigation against Adv Madonsela, if any, and to assure the nation that the work of the Public Protector will not be compromised.
Lawson Naidoo – 073 158 5736
Masutane Modjadji – 076 937 0825
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