Judiciary shouldn't interfere in politics - Nzimande

2015-06-18 12:59
Blade Nzimande. (File, City Press)

Blade Nzimande. (File, City Press)

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Johannesburg - SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande has accused parts of the judiciary of interfering in the political arena.

"We are concerned that sections of the judiciary tend to somehow overreach into areas that one would expect even in a constitutional state to tread very, very carefully," he told News24 on Thursday.

"It's not narrowly about complaining about the judiciary because of decisions we do not like. It's about a broader principle, we must scrupulously inspect the boundaries of the separation of powers."

Nzimande referred to some Parliamentary matters which were taken to the courts to sort out.

In April, the Western Cape High Court ruled that it was fair comment by the Economic Freedom Fighters to say the ANC government killed people in Marikana.

The court set aside a ruling by National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise against the EFF on June 19 last year, when she said it was an unparliamentary statement to make.

The High Court also set aside her order that the EFF must withdraw the statement.


Nzimande on Thursday said in this matter the judiciary was "sailing too close to the wind".

"These MPs here, who we regard as hooligans... [who] disrupt the president, disrupt the proceedings of Parliament and then you get a judicial decision that basically is almost saying you can do anything you want because of your right to free speech.

"That's really sailing too close to the wind," he said.

There was another court matter where the Western Cape High Court ruled in favour of the Democratic Alliance which brought an application to the court questioning the right to remove or arrest parliamentary members who cause disturbances.

Judge Andre Le Grange and two others declared that Section 11 of the Powers and Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act was inconsistent with the Constitution and thus invalid.

Le Grange suspended the full bench's order for a period of 12 months to allow Parliament to remedy the defect in the legislation.

He also referred the order to the Constitutional Court for confirmation and said the respondents were to pay the costs of two counsels.

Judiciary ‘overreaching’

Nzimande said the courts had to have respect for Parliament and the executive.

"If we don't debate this we run the risk of Parliament matters and executive matters being run by the courts," he said.

"As the SACP... we respect the judiciary and we also think it is important that it be respected if we are to have a credible judicial and political system."

Nzimande said the SACP believed there was a doctrine being pushed which saw the judiciary overreaching.

These matters needed to be debated publically as part of the strengthening of democracy.

"At the heart of our concern is that we must be careful... [that] we must not define our constitutional state as standing in contradiction to majority rule.

"We are a constitutional state based on majority rule with separation of powers in the three spheres... which must be defended.

"Let us debate this. Otherwise we run the risk of ordinary people losing confidence in the political and our democratic state," Nzimande said.

Read more on:    sacp  |  blade nzimande  |  johannesburg  |  parliament 2015  |  politics

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