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)
18 May 2021

Innocent until proven guilty

Although witnesses before the Commission may not assert the rights in section 35(1) and (3) which are reserved for arrested and accused persons, those witnesses may invoke the rights guaranteed by section 12 of the Constitution.  The latter provision protects, among others, the right to freedom and security of the person which, on the authority of Ferreira, includes the privilege against self-incrimination. It is evident from this analysis that a statutory provision that compels witnesses to give self-incriminating evidence would be inconsistent with section 12 of the Constitution.  As a result, when that statute is interpreted, the obligation imposed on courts by section 39(2) of the Constitution is triggered. The Commissions Act is such a statute.

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