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)
30 December 2009

What went right in 2009

(1) South Africa had another free and fair election (it’s fourth!) without any serious violence and the fourth democratic President was inaugurated soon afterwards.

(2) The government decisively changed direction on HIV/AIDS and President Jacob Zuma appointed a health minister who clearly understands that the problem of HIV needs to be dealt with in a comprehensive manner.

(3) Nkosazana Zuma has begun to change things around at the Department of Home Affairs. A friend of mine received her passport only 4 weeks after submitting her application!

(4) The South African banking system weathered the international financial crisis very well and the SA government did not need to pump billions of dollars into the system as was required by the USA, the UK and some European countries.

(5) A free press and independent electronic media continued to thrive and to present a variety of news, exposes and opinion, sometimes harshly critical of the foibles of the governing party and sometimes singing its praises.

(6) Some members of the tripartite alliance began exposing Julius Malema as the self-serving, headline-grabbing, tenderpreneur that he is.

(7) The selection of a new Chief Justice and four new judges to the Constitutional Court proceeded without unnecessary controversy and several good candidates were appointed to the positions while a certain Judge President were clearly not a serious contender for appointment.

(8) A vibrant civil society continued to thrive and to challenge seemingly unlawful decisions made by the President and y constitutional institutions such as the Judicial Services Commission in various courts across South Africa.

(9) South Africa successfully hosted the Confederations Cup and the various soccer stadiums for 2010 Fifa World Cup were completed on time.

(10) Many South Africans quietly continued to build bridges and build the nation by giving of their time and money to address the poverty and deprivation of fellow South Africans.

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