Quote of the week

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.

Plasket AJ
Victoria Park Ratepayers' Association v Greyvenouw CC and others (511/03) [2003] ZAECHC 19 (11 April 2003)
23 November 2011

CASAC statement on Secrecy Bill

MEDIA STATEMENT – POSIB

23 November 2011

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) remains concerned about aspects of the Protection of State Information Bill (POSIB) that was passed by the National Assembly yesterday. In particular our concern focuses on the implications of the POSIB for the right to access to information enshrined in section 32 of the Constitution and regulated by the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

Many ordinary South Africans and a broad range of civil society organisations have demonstrated their vigilance and expressed their reservations about the POSIB. Whilst the National Assembly has so far failed to heed the calls for a revision of the Bill, we hope that the National Council of Provinces will do so.

Should the POSIB be passed in its current form in the National Council of Provinces, we call on President Zuma not to assent to it and instead to exercise his power and responsibilities under section 79 of the Constitution to refer the matter back to the National Assembly for further consideration. Should the reconsideration by the National Assembly fail to cure the defects in the legislation, we would urge the President to refer the POSIB to the Constitutional Court for a decision on its constitutionality.

This is an important piece of legislation that is necessary to protect legitimate state secrets and to protect the sovereign integrity of our nation. It should not contain elements that undermine the constitutional rights of ordinary people.

Enquiries:

Lawson Naidoo          073 158 5736

Masutane Modjadji   076 937 0825

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