ConCourt untouchable, black lawyers say

2012-02-16 20:59

Johannesburg - The executive and the legislature do not have the power to amend or review the Constitutional Court's powers, the Black Lawyers' Association (BLA) said on Thursday.

"The only way... is to divorce the current constitutional democracy and remarry parliamentary sovereignty," BLA president Pritzman Mabunda said in a statement.

If this route was followed, it may be subjected to constitutional scrutiny by the Constitutional Court, which was the subject matter.

On Monday, President Jacob Zuma reportedly said he wanted to review the court's powers.

The issue was reportedly raised by a deputy minister and ANC leaders at the party's national executive committee meeting two weeks ago and was discussed by Cabinet ministers.

The presidency later said Zuma's comments had to be viewed in the context of a decision Cabinet took last year.

It said this decision was about doing an assessment on the impact of Constitutional Court judgments on the transformation of South Africa's society since it had gained democracy.

Mabunda said according to section 74 (1) of the Constitution, which dealt with bills which amended the Constitution, section one of the Constitution may be amended by the National Assembly.

Seventy-five percent of its members and six provinces from the National Council of Provinces had to support the vote.

"[This is] a tedious exercise which may still be found to be constitutionally wanting if challenged," he said.

Section 167 (4) stated that only the Constitutional Court could decide on the constitutionality of any amendment to the Constitution.

  • louisdiemasjien - 2012-02-16 21:12

    Why do we have a Black Lawyers' Association? Could I join as white dude?

      Godfrey - 2012-02-16 21:54

      LOL..calling a black "A BLACK" can land you in trouble, yet its okay for BLACKS to form a BLACK associacion/club/forum and it constitutional.

      Thulani Zondi - 2012-02-16 22:18

      The very same constitution you are so vocal about stipulate that we all have fredom of association. If you are concern about black lawyers association. My question is it ok for freedom front plus to have white only members? Why are you silent about ff + and minority front ?

      Cracker - 2012-02-16 22:20

      This black white nonsense will fade. When? As soon as the various skin colors start realizing that that they are being played off against each other for the benefit of the opportunists. We have already come some way - failures and all, but the rubbish responsible for the former WILL still stand trial for their misappropriations - and the rest of us will just have to continue. Sometimes against little hope. But read the signs. The subtle changes taking place. Every day.

      Xolani - 2012-02-16 23:22

      Firstly...perhaps if you were to understand why the Association was founded in the first place, then I believe your question would not be ill-gotten. Black persons were prohibited, by apartheid law, to practice freely the craft of law. For example, the first Black advocate admitted to the Bar, Duma Nokwe, was not allowed to hold chambers along with his fellow colleagues. White people did not have to set up such organisations because they were the ones with the abundant benefits and privileges; there was no need! Blacks had to organise in order to strengthen their fight to get the very same rights! The other question is whether such organisations are still relevant today. The answer to that is another question: is the Judiciary and the Bar fully transformed? And Max and Godfrey's comments beneath rank of something else other than sensible or constructive!

      PB - 2012-02-17 08:24

      Xolani, and by "fully transformed" you mean what - consisting of black members only?

      Deon - 2012-02-17 08:34

      This just go's to prove that the BLA, with the approval of the ANC, a racist and hate speech mongering institution is. They (ANC and BLA)are and will continue to undermine our constitution and the freedom of all people of South Africa until we have the similar regime currently in Zimbabwe.

      Jason - 2012-03-10 18:12

      Perhaps a better question is could one start a White Lawyers' Association without it being declared unconstitutional on the basis of inequality and discrimination.

      Geronimo - 2012-03-15 21:12

      @Xolani- by your account then, there is no purpose for the Black Lawyers Association today. There is absolutely no bar or prohibition on any black person from practising law TODAY. So if the BLA existed because of past wrongs which have now been corrected, do you agree that they are an obsolete dinosaur of an organisation which our supposedly "non-racial" country has no need for?

      Geronimo - 2012-03-15 21:14

      Having said that, I applaud the BLA's stance on this issue (unless they are advocating a return to Parliamentary Sovereignty).

  • ISO - 2012-02-16 21:12

    Yo!, we got the best constitution in the world and they want to do what! Seems like a dangerouse agenda!

  • Glyn - 2012-02-16 21:17

    So the Black (yes, Black) Lawyers are in line with the other South African lawyers on this. Zuma CANNOT TOUCH the Constitution!!

  • Glyn - 2012-02-16 21:19

    "Zuma's comments had to be viewed in the context of a decision Cabinet took last year." The "context" does not matter! The Constitution cannot be touched! Period! Zuma... do not try!

      Cracker - 2012-02-16 21:31

      Just as an aside. This reference to rubbish like context or some other historical whatever to justify BS by the ANC is puerile. Why would it change the BS character of what is taking place? "My lending without permission of my neighbor's hosepipe must be viewed in the context of the decision I and my wife took last week." The temerity and arrogance of the BS we are being fed.

      Thulani Zondi - 2012-02-16 22:11

      The constitution is not a sacred document like bible, it can be changed when necessary. The judiciary system in south africa is above the cabinet. The cabinet under the leadership of the president must have power. We do not want to be governed by judges through remote control.

      Cracker - 2012-02-16 23:14

      @ Thulani... It is not about remote control as you would like it to seem. it is about our freedoms. Explain the notion of "remote control" so we can all understand it or at least appreciate what you have in mind. In other words, according to your reasoning, only "REMOTES" make use of the judicial system to enforce their rights. What is a "REMOTE?" The terminology of "remote" you try to advance in the sphere of the application of the Constitution will not fly. Tell your bosses it is a failure.

  • Rebaone - 2012-02-16 21:31

    The presidency does not have the power to change or amend the constitutional court powers and if it does so then we no longer have a supreme constitution but parliamentary sovereignty.

      Wouter - 2012-02-16 22:04

      Very well spoken Rebaone, but I'll translate it into language for the new generation - If government is allowed to edit "constitution.pdf", they'll flood the drive with porn and spyware.

  • Cracker - 2012-02-16 21:40

    One of course hopes that the attorneys associated with all their various organizations will come out in support of the following clear truths: Freedoms are indivisible. You may think that you score by suppressing the freedoms of an adversary or ideas adversarial to your own by attacking the very law under which those very same sentiments are expressed until you fall victim of the same practice. My freedoms are dependent on my defense of the freedoms of others.f Change the Constitution to suit some and their purposes and you actually draft a constitution for your future potential enemies and opportunists.

  • Irene - 2012-02-16 21:47

    Is there a 'White Lawyers Association'? Suppose not because that would be racist. What a joke these clown are. Oh my nerves, it completely boggles the mind.

      Stan - 2012-02-17 08:50

      yes, like the white only FF+, like the Indian only minority front. the constitution stipulates freedom of association ... that's if you can read... clown!

  • Mboneni - 2012-02-16 22:43

    This is a racist association,people must be associated by profession not by race.The powers of the Concourt should not be reviewed,the Concourt must be free and independent,in most cases it is people like Jacob Zuma who are having problems with an independent Concourt because of their dubious past

  • Newsreader - 2012-02-17 09:31

    Funny thing is, out 40 million Jacob Zuma is the best they have to offer. What a joke!

  • Sipokazi - 2012-02-17 09:59

    Lets not digress from the issue at hand. I thought I was to read interesting intellectual debate on the views expressed by BLA. But alas, we continue to discuss non-issues.

  • Nathi - 2012-02-17 10:44

    How quickly we have forgotten the autocracy that was Apartheid, where cabinet and ministers had the final say on everything. Do we really wanna go back there. Thousands of people died for our constitution to become a reality. Did they die in vain? We need only look at our neighbours to see what happens when all decisions are made by those in power.

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