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)
13 November 2006

Cosatu, Squires and the SCA

The five judges of the Supreme Court of Appeal must feel rather embarrased this morning after Judge Hilary Squires informed us all that he never said that there was a generally corrupt relationship between Schabir Shaik and Jacob Zuma. But they would not be the first judges to make technical mistakes in a judgment and will definitely not be the last.

It is therefore absurd for Cosatu to call for the impeachment of the five judges involved. Nothing much turns on the use of this phrase and for the SCA judges to have used it, is at most a personal embarrasment for them.

Cosatu’s call is highly irresponsible. Because of the perceived short term political gain, they are castinga spersions on five judges of the highest court in non-constitutional matters. It is inevitable that their silly call will be beleived by some – especially Jacob Zuma supporters and this will undermine the legitimacy of the judiciary.

IT seems to suggest that Cosatu will do anything – even destroying the constitutional system – in order to get Zuma elected president. Once a principles and progressive organisation, they are becoming handmaidens of corruption.

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