Quote of the week

As seductive as certain perspectives of international law may appear to those who disagree with the outcome of the interpretative exercise conducted by this Court in the contempt judgment, sight must not be lost of the proper place of international law, especially in respect of an application for rescission. The approach that my Brother adopts may be apposite in the context of an appeal, where a court is enjoined to consider whether the court a quo erred in its interpretation of the law. Although it should be clear by now, I shall repeat it once more: this is not an appeal, for this Court’s orders are not appealable. I am deeply concerned that seeking to rely on articles of the ICCPR as a basis for rescission constitutes nothing more than sophistry.

Khampepe J
Zuma v Secretary of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector Including Organs of State and Others (CCT 52/21) [2021] ZACC 28 (17 September 2021)
1 February 2021

Con Court on right to remain silent

The privilege against self-incrimination is not the only privilege witnesses before a commission are entitled to.  There may be others.  The test is whether such a privilege would have applied to a witness in a criminal trial, for it to be covered by section 3(4) of the Commissions Act. However, it lies with a witness before a commission to claim privilege against self-incrimination.  In the event of doing so, the witness must raise the question of privilege with the Chairperson of the Commission and must demonstrate how an answer to the question in issue would breach the privilege.  If the Chairperson is persuaded, he or she may permit the witness not to answer the question. Privilege against self incrimination is not there for the taking by witnesses. There must be sufficient grounds that in answering a question, the witness will incriminate himself or herself in the commission of a specified crime.

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