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)
8 November 2006

Youth League strikes again

The ANC Youth League and the Young Communist League held a press conference today. Business Day reports as follows on this:

Jacob Zuma has emerged unscathed from the Supreme Court of Appeal’s dismissal of Schabir Shaik’s appeal against his corruption convictions, the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League said today.

“The Supreme Court of Appeal passed the unequivocal message that the person found guilty was Mr Shaik and not [ANC deputy president] Zuma,” league president Fikile Mbalula told a news conference in Johannesburg.

I think for once I agree with the Youth League. The Court was extremely careful to focus on the guilt of Shaik and to make clear that they are finding that Shaik had the intention to commit corruption and bribery. But then the Youth League continues as follows:

Mbalula said judge Craig Howie’s ruling on Monday did nothing to enhance or diminish the possibility of the National Prosecuting Authority recharging Zuma for corruption.

“Any re-charging of Zuma would constitute a witchhunt, a fishing expedition that would effectively perpetuate the NPA’s continued leap from one disaster to another.”

Here Mr Mbablula’s wishful thinking overshadow his common sense. Any cursory reading of the judgment shows that the judgment found beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Zuma received more than a million Rand an from Shaik to subsidise an extravagant lifestyle, and then used his power and prestige as ANC Deputy President and then as Deputy President of the country to assist his friend in his business dealings. It also found the encrypted fax was rightly admitted.

The jugdment clearly bolsters the state’s case, but more importantly, it diminishes Zuma’s political standing because it makes clear there was (and still is) a case for him to answer and that the charges brought against him was thus not a witchhunt (and obviously not a fishing expedition because that is just logically impossible).

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