Judges question ConCourt assessment

2011-11-27 21:47

Johannesburg - Judges criticised the ANC's plan to assess the Constitutional Court's judgments, according to a report on Sunday.

Retired Constitutional Court Judge Johann Kriegler called the plan inauspicious, Rapport reported.

"[The judiciary] is not a platform in Polokwane. We are not talking politics," he said.

Cabinet spokesperson Jimmy Manyi said on Thursday that the assessment would be part of a broader look at the transformation of the judicial system and the role of the judiciary in a developmental state.

It would seek to ensure that the judiciary "conforms to the transformation mandate as envisaged in the Constitution" in terms of non-racialism, gender, disability and other transformational variables.

It would also examine access to justice on all levels of the courts, from the lower courts through to the Constitutional Court.

The third focus would be to affirm the independence of the judiciary, that of the executive and of Parliament, and to promote the interface necessary to realise transformation goals as envisaged in the Constitution.

The assessors would also want to see whether Constitutional Court judgments were having an impact on socio-economic issues.

Judge Dennis Davis raised his concerns about the terminology the Cabinet used in its judgment.

He questioned what was meant by transformational variables.

"Is this about demography of the courts alone? Or are we now moving to a more textured debate about making the Constitution's vision of SA work for millions who live in desperately undignified conditions?" he asked.

Davis questioned interdependence because the court's role in the end was to trump the other arms of state.

Struggle veteran Mamphela Ramphele also sharply criticised Cabinet's plans and said the government's attempt to use this decision as a reaffirmation of the judiciary underestimated people's intelligence.

"As if we, who fought for democracy our whole lives, are stupid."

Read more on:    mamphela ramphele  |  jimmy manyi  |  dennis davis  |  johann kriegler  |  judiciary

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