Motlanthe reassures on ConCourt review

2012-02-29 21:26
Cape Town - The government's proposed review of the country's judicial systems is not aimed at making the judiciary an extension of the government, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe told MPs on Wednesday.

Responding to a question in the National Assembly from DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, he said its purpose was to ensure the government complied with the prescripts of the Constitution.

Earlier, Mazibuko, referring to the controversial review, had called on him to explain it.

"Is the purpose of the review to render the judiciary an extension of the executive arm of government? And, if so, how does the government reconcile this with the constitutionally-enshrined principle of the separation of powers?" she asked.

Motlanthe responded: "No, that is not the intention, that is not the purpose of the review."

He said government understood the separation of powers.

"We accept that the three arms of the state, as separate powers, have to work in a co-operative fashion, independent of each other, in a manner that enhances and consolidates our democracy."

No one of the three was superior to the other.

"The practice of constitutional review only serves to ensure that we comply with the prescripts of the Constitution," Motlanthe said.

Speaking later in the House, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe advised Mazibuko to read the discussion document on the transformation of the judiciary, which he had tabled on Tuesday.

He was responding to a question from Mazibuko, who wanted to know whether the minister could assure the House that Cabinet "will not propose changes to the powers of the Constitutional Court, regardless of the outcome of the review process?"

Radebe told Mazibuko her comments on the matter were "ill-founded"; the document was not a review of the powers of the Constitutional Court, but on the transformation of the judicial system "and the role of the judiciary in the transformation project".

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