Quote of the week

Although judicial proceedings will generally be bound by the requirements of natural justice to a greater degree than will hearings before administrative tribunals, judicial decision-makers, by virtue of their positions, have nonetheless been granted considerable deference by appellate courts inquiring into the apprehension of bias. This is because judges ‘are assumed to be [people] of conscience and intellectual discipline, capable of judging a particular controversy fairly on the basis of its own circumstances’: The presumption of impartiality carries considerable weight, for as Blackstone opined at p. 361 in Commentaries on the Laws of England III . . . ‘[t]he law will not suppose possibility of bias in a judge, who is already sworn to administer impartial justice, and whose authority greatly depends upon that presumption and idea’. Thus, reviewing courts have been hesitant to make a finding of bias or to perceive a reasonable apprehension of bias on the part of a judge, in the absence of convincing evidence to that effect.

L'Heureux-Dube and McLachlin JJ
Livesey v The New South Wales Bar Association [1983] HCA 17; (1983) 151 CLR 288
23 September 2008

Eleven Ministers resign!

Just received the following press release from the Presidency:

Statement on the resignation of members of Cabinet and Deputy Ministers

President Thabo Mbeki has, to date, received letters of resignation from the following members of Cabinet which, regretfully, he has had to accept:

1. Deputy President

2. Minister of Defence

3. Minister of Finance

4. Minister in the Presidency, Dr. Essop Pahad

5. Minister of Intelligence

6. Minister of Correctional Services

7. Minister of Public Enterprises

8. Minister of Science and Technology

9. Minister of Public Works

10. Minister of Provincial and Local Government

11. Minister of Public Service and Administration

The following Deputy Ministers have also tendered their resignations:

1. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Aziz Pahad

2. Deputy Minister of Finance and

3. Deputy Minister of Correctional Services

The resignations will be effective from the day that the President’s resignation takes effect. All the Ministers have expressed their availability to assist the incoming administration in the hand-over process and any other assistance that might be sought from them. President Mbeki thanked the Deputy President, the Ministers and the Deputy Ministers for their dedicated service to the nation and wished them well in their future endeavours.

This means a third of the cabinet is gone. The new President will now have to appoint new ministers from among the members of the National Assembly and will have to do so sooner rather than later.

For me these resignation suggests that the new ANC leadership has some serious problems on its hands. While they specifically requested Ministers to stay on, elevn have now decided to resign. This suggests that the unity of which Gwede Mantashe spoke on Saturday is a long way off. I cannot but wonder whether this might not suggest that there are some truth to the rumours about discussions  among some cabinet Ministers to form a new political party.

Whatever happens, Gwede Mantashe and Jacob Zuma must be rather upset by these new developments as it creates the impression of an ANC leadership not in control of its members.

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