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.
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