Quote of the week

Regard must be had to the higher standard of conduct expected from public officials, and the number of falsehoods that have been put forward by the Public Protector in the course of the litigation.  This conduct included the numerous “misstatements”, like misrepresenting, under oath, her reliance on evidence of economic experts in drawing up the report, failing to provide a complete record, ordered and indexed, so that the contents thereof could be determined, failing to disclose material meetings and then obfuscating the reasons for them and the reasons why they had not been previously disclosed, and generally failing to provide the court with a frank and candid account of her conduct in preparing the report. The punitive aspect of the costs order therefore stands.

KHAMPEPE J and THERON J
Public Protector v South African Reserve Bank (CCT107/18) [2019] ZACC 29 (22 July 2019)
13 December 2006

Media neglect Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court is the highest body of the third branch of government, but one would be hard-pressed to know this if one read some of our newspapers. The papers who obsessively report on the various government ministers, their trips abroad and their every irrelevant cliched utterance, seem to be a bit allergic to the work of the Court.

Yesterday the CC handed down judgment in an important case about refugee rights. The Business Day does report on this case but I find no mention of it in either Die Burger or the Cape Times. Maybe the less parochial papers in Johannesburg carried it?

Perhaps because the work done by the court is less sensational and not prone to the master narratives of corruption and incompetence associated with the legislature or executive, papers do not report on the work of the Court properly. It won’t sell newspapers. But how can we make informed choices about politics if we do not know what the third branch of government is doing?

I will blog tomorrow on my take of the latest decision.

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