Quote of the week

Although judicial proceedings will generally be bound by the requirements of natural justice to a greater degree than will hearings before administrative tribunals, judicial decision-makers, by virtue of their positions, have nonetheless been granted considerable deference by appellate courts inquiring into the apprehension of bias. This is because judges ‘are assumed to be [people] of conscience and intellectual discipline, capable of judging a particular controversy fairly on the basis of its own circumstances’: The presumption of impartiality carries considerable weight, for as Blackstone opined at p. 361 in Commentaries on the Laws of England III . . . ‘[t]he law will not suppose possibility of bias in a judge, who is already sworn to administer impartial justice, and whose authority greatly depends upon that presumption and idea’. Thus, reviewing courts have been hesitant to make a finding of bias or to perceive a reasonable apprehension of bias on the part of a judge, in the absence of convincing evidence to that effect.

L'Heureux-Dube and McLachlin JJ
Livesey v The New South Wales Bar Association [1983] HCA 17; (1983) 151 CLR 288
30 November 2011

Statement of CASAC on Willem Heath appointment as head of SIU

CASAC STATEMENT: Removal of Willie Hofmeyr as the head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and his replacement by Willem Heath.

Under the leadership of Hofmeyr the SIU, despite its limited mandate, became one of the key structures in the fight against corruption. We note that Willem Heath has had a close relationship with President Zuma, having acted as an advisor to Zuma when he was being investigated by the erstwhile Scorpions on allegations of corruption. Whilst as head of the SIU he will only investigate matters that are referred to him by the President, his independent judgment will be compromised.

 

In the light of the Constitutional Court judgment in the Glenister case calling for an effective independent body to fight corruption, this decision by the President can only serve to weaken the states capacity to tackle corruption.

 

This appointment marks another step in the process of rewarding individuals, whose independence has been compromised, dating back to the appointment of Menzi Simelane as the National Director of Public Prosecutions.

 

Our country needs a robust, fearless criminal justice sector in order to deal effectively with crime and corruption. This move by the President is a set-back in that quest.

 

 

ENDS

 

Enquries:

 

Lawson Naidoo – 073 158 5736

 

Masutane Modjadji – 076 9370825

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