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)
25 December 2008

Newsflash: Edwin Cameron appointed to the Constitutional Court

I just received the following message from the Treatment Action Campaign:

The Treatment Action Campaign congratulates Justice Edwin Cameron on his appointment to the Constitutional Court.

Justice Edwin Cameron has been appointed to the Constitutional Court of South Africa by President Kgalema Mothlanthe. Edwin Cameron has been described as the best legal mind of his generation. His career as an anti-apartheid lawyer opposed forced removals, military conscription, unfair labour practices and censorship. Cameron was one of the first judges appointed by President Nelson Mandela and has built a substantive jurisprudence on equality, rights to social security, freedom of expression and the rights of rape survivors.

Justice Edwin Cameron is a gay man who lives openly with HIV/AIDS. His appointment to the highest court in our country is an affirmation of the Bill of Rights, the rule of law and non-racialism.

Justice Cameron replaces Justice Tholekile Madala whose term ended this year and has retired.

A good appointment. Four appointments to go. Thabo Mbeki must not be happy because Justice Cameron has been one of the first to speak out forcefully and bravely against his views on HIV/AIDS. And our first opennly gay man on the highest court. What a nice Christmas present.

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