'Exercise restraint' in justice review talks

2012-04-26 16:31
Pretoria - Restraint should be exercised when discussing the proposed judicial transformation review mooted by the ANC, retired Constitutional Court Judge Johann Kriegler said on Thursday.

He said pronouncements by senior ANC members, including President Jacob Zuma and Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe, should be cause for concern for South Africans.

"If you are not concerned about these rumblings you are not informed. It is indeed a very serious topic which concerns all of us. Anything that touches on the rule of law and therefore touches on the freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution concerns us," Kriegler said at a seminar in Pretoria.

A "great deal of transformation had been done in the South African judicial system" since the introduction of Constitutional democracy, evidenced by the composition of the judges currently on the bench.

"At the time of the implementation of the new Constitution there were 163 white males on the High Court bench, plus the Chief Justice. There are now 324 judges on various benches of the High Court... 79 are white males," he said.

In February, Radebe released a discussion document on judicial transformation and touched on the role of the country's judiciary.

"If you look at the terms of reference of the commission that is to be appointed, you will see that it is hot air. Now we have thoughts and talk of transforming the judiciary, the judges, the system. I suggest it is hot air," Kriegler said.

He scoffed at the review process's terms of reference. They were intended to allow for the analysis of "jurisprudence and the socio-economic rights, particularly the eradication of inequality and poverty" on citizens.

"Eradication of poverty? I believe that is the role of the executive through the goods provided by the legislature," he said.

- SAPA
Read more on:    jeff radebe  |  johann kriegler  |  judiciary
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