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.
Xolela Mangcu has written a scathing column in today’s Business Day asking: how did a once proud freedom movement become a party of death? Who, Mangcu wants to know, are those “dark forces” or the “third force” or the “anti-revolutionaries” that will have to be killed. Then he continues:
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Let us then move on to consider the method of death. Will Vavi, Malema and their gang of warriors shoot the enemies in the head even as they plead for their lives? Or will they dismember them in full view of the world to teach others a lesson? Will they set them ablaze in the manner of Ernesto Nhamuave?
And will they laugh around the burning bodies while singing revolutionary songs? Or will they simply do what many leaders did during the 1980s, which was simply to issue orders to the foot soldiers. In those days the leaders could still go around sipping champagne at society gatherings, knowing full well that the killing machines were in full swing in the townships.
Like Liberia’s Charles Taylor, the leaders can now still go about their business knowing full well of the death and destruction. Occasionally the cellphone will ring and they will politely ask to be excused from the dinner table so they can get progress reports from the killing fields.