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.
Open letter and statement on Janet Love
As constitutional lawyers, legal academics, human rights and social justice activists who have worked with Janet Love while she has been the National Director of the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), we are surprised and dismayed by Premier Helen Zille’s implication that she will not act independently of narrow party politics in her capacity as a human rights commissioner.
During the last five years, Janet Love has been the National Director of the LRC. In the face of a gradual decrease of grant funding for human rights work, she has fought to secure its survival. Despite competition from the private sector and the LRC’s inability to pay competitive salaries, she has succeeded in attracting talented lawyers to continue the LRC’s long tradition of human rights litigation and advocacy.
Under the leadership of Janet Love, the LRC has fought fearlessly for the rights of the poor and powerless, without favour to the ANC or any other political party. During this period, the LRC has for example undertaken the following litigation and advocacy:
That record speaks for itself. It shows that Janet Love has not hesitated to promote human rights by litigating against and criticising government at all levels, whichever party is in power.
We are therefore concerned that Ms Zille has criticised the SA Human Rights Commission in a manner which does a grave injustice to someone who has repeatedly demonstrated her commitment to human rights in South Africa. In the process, she has also undermined the LRC, which is one of South Africa’s oldest and most widely respected human rights organisations.
1. Adv Geoff Budlender SC
2. Adv Richard Moultrie
8. Professor Halton Cheadle
9. Bishop Paul Verryn
11.Professor Jonathan Klaaren
12.Professor Hugh Corder
13.Professor Pierre de Vos
14.Adv Nasreen Rajab-Budlender
16.Jacob van Garderen
17.Adv Steven Budlender
18.Adv Stuart Wilson
19.Dr Jackie Dugard
20.Judge Kathie Satchwell
21.Dr Rachel Wynberg
27.Professor Richard Calland
32.Advocate Adila HassimBACK TO TOP