Year in review: War between the state and the judiciary

2011-12-23 13:33

Year 2011 could be remembered as the year in which the tripartite ­alliance drew a line and said it would not be “held at ransom by white elitist lobby groups” with ­money and access to the courts, as SA Communist Party member Khaye Nkwanyana recently put it.

Similar statements by the alliance members to the effect that the courts were being abused to stymie the will of a democratically elected government became more widespread in the wake of contested state actions this year.

The most recent of these included the setting aside of President Jacob Zuma’s appointment of public prosecutions boss Menzi Simelane; a Constitutional Court ­judgment declaring the Hawks insufficiently independent from the police; the chief justice saga; and an arms deal commission widely seen to have been appointed because of a Constitutional Court case trying to force the president to do the same.

Why it matters:
Some commentators believe these ­attitudes have culminated in the recent Cabinet decision announcing an “assessment” of ConCourt decisions by a research organisation next year.

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