My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
It is difficult not to conclude that Judge President John Hlophe and his handlangers will go to any lengths to save his bacon – even destroy the constitutional order if necessary. How else to view the application launched in the Johannesburg High Court seeking a declaratory order that the Constitutional Court had violated his rights by making allegations against him in the media, before lodging a complaint with the JSC.
He also asked for an interim interdict against the JSC, stopping it from proceeding with the hearing, at least until such time as the high court ruled on his application. I hear the Judge President is arguing that the JSC cannot hear his complaint because it is not a court of law. They should therefore also not be allowed to hear the complaint by the Constitutional Court as this complaint violated his rights.
His application to the High Court – so I am told – is aimed at stopping the whole process before the JSC to “prevent a constitutional crisis”. If the High Court agrees to hear his case, so he argues, they will have to adjudicate on a matter involving a higher court and this will plunge the whole judicial system into crisis – unless the Constitutional Court is reconstituted to hear his appeal (something that is not possible in terms of the Constitution.)
The only way to solve this “crisis” is to order the JSC not to hear the complaint against him. Clever, huh?
I do not want to comment further before I get my hands on his papers (which will be posted on the net tonight, I am told). Just one thought: do I detect the hand of Paul Ngobeni in all of this?BACK TO TOP