Little confidence in judiciary - survey

2012-02-28 12:30

Johannesburg - Only 31% of South Africans say the judiciary is impartial and unbiased, according to a study released by TNS South Africa on Tuesday.

The survey results were released on the same day that Justice Minister Jeff Radebe is scheduled to brief the media on judicial transformation and the role of the judiciary in a developmental state.

According to TNS, the survey found that levels of ignorance about the judiciary were high.

"People simply do not know very much about this arm of the state," said TNS spokesperson Neil Higgs.


The study found that 31% of South Africans believed the judiciary was biased, while 38% did not know.

TNS surveyed 2 000 adults in South Africa's seven major metropolitan areas in October and November.

It asked South Africans for their perceptions of the judiciary.

Asked whether judges were biased towards the government, 38% agreed while 27% disagreed - while the "don't know" response was high at 36%.

The issue of transformation yielded a 42% "don't know" response with 34% of metro adults feeling there had not been enough transformation in the judiciary and 24% feeling that there had.

On the issue of impartiality in general, older people were less confident.

Seventeen percent of those aged 60 years and older felt the judiciary was impartial and unbiased.

Differences in race, gender and wealth had a negligible effect on responses.


"Even on the issue of transformation in the judiciary, there are remarkably few demographic differences," said Higgs.

Older people felt most strongly that there had not been enough transformation, with 23% of this group saying transformation was insufficient.

The "don't know" responses were slightly higher among women and much higher amongst older people (over 50%).

"The results of this study suggest that... there are high levels of ignorance about key aspects of the judiciary," said Higgs.

"Of particular concern is that under a third of metro adults have any real confidence in the judiciary."

There was room to enhance public confidence in the judicial system, said Higgs.

  • Shirley - 2012-02-28 12:38

    You dont need an expensive survey to tell you there is no confidence! The sentencing,willingness to prosecute,execution of prosecution,inability by police to gather and KEEP evidence..... It all speaks for itself! Not to mention judge appointments as party favours!

  • Willie - 2012-02-28 12:46

    Jeff Radebe is a sell by date

  • Edward Serfontein - 2012-02-28 12:54

    A reckless taxi driver kills several children in an accident and gets only 20 years. Is that maybe why we have little confidence?

      Kuno - 2012-02-28 14:03

      and JubJub still partying after killing 4 kids...

  • Nina - 2012-02-28 13:05

    I understand that this is a survey and is based on perceptions, but I think people should take 10 minutes to try and understand our law, all you guys see and focus on is the superficial. There is a lot of work that goes behind the "delayed" jsutice done by proper upstanding lawyers and judges. Law is not what you see on tv shows. Like every profession there are bad apples, its not the system itself.

      Wendy - 2012-02-28 13:15

      The thing is Nina, it is not our duty to understand the law, that is why we have experts in the field .. Results is what we understand, and they are sorely wanting ..

      bernpm - 2012-02-28 13:45

      Nina, you might be right all takes too long from punishable event to conclusion of a case. Trials within a trial seem more defence delay tactics (Motata trial). They should be moved to the appeal round. Civil servants put on special leave with full salary have all reason to drag the case on and on with legal support paid by the State (Selebi?).

      Shirley - 2012-02-28 13:57

      Just the idiots working it?

      Nina - 2012-02-29 11:36

      @Wendy: I know its not your duty, and since I am an expert, you need to understand that it is not a matter of locking people up because they simply appear guilty. The results you want require an invloved process. What I meant is that the lack of confidence would not be mis-directed if the public understood or respected the road a trial takes. I am in no way expecting you to go get a law degree, just understand that you do not have the full picture. @bernpm: a case in court takes long merely by virtue of other factors like court rules (which the public isnt aware of), but you are totally right. The fact that we have bad lawyers who postpone things unnecesarily does not help the situation at all. All I am saying is that its not the system that is "bad" or "non-functional" its the people within the field who abuse the knowledge they have to make money out of those seeking legal relief, and drag things out as much as possible. The delays, backlocks and injustices (which are the "results" you see) are a direct result of these people manipulating the system. We need to uproot them from the system, so Wendy can see the results she wants to see. And government is lacking in doing that.

  • NlggaWitattitude - 2012-02-28 13:06

    Who actually got faith in this joke of a judiciary system???...

  • Omrisho - 2012-02-28 13:15

    no sh*t sherlock

  • Marion - 2012-02-28 13:19

    Perception is just that, perception. I do not believe that this survey is a true reflection of how the majority of people feel about the judiciary. I, for one, have faith in the judiciary irrespective of the race or sex of the judge / magistrate.

  • nspaynter - 2012-02-28 13:21

    My problem, from personal experience, is not the judiciary but the SAPS. Just one example: the Inge Lotz murder in Stellenbosch where the SAPS tried to lay the blame on the boyfriend by using fingerprints from a curved surface and saying they they were from a DVD cover which was flat. The DVD cover was returned to the DVD library. It should have been kept for evidence.

  • Randomhero6661 - 2012-02-28 13:25

    need confidence look here.

  • OhbiZz - 2012-02-28 13:29

    Differences in race, gender and wealth had a negligible effect on responses REALLY!?!?!!!!

  • bernpm - 2012-02-28 13:39

    The famous and poorly publicly defined "transformation" issue as basis for the survey, seems to influence the outcome. The question: "what are we transforming and by what date will it be completed?" seem to have no answer. Some glaring unsatisfying outcomes of or dragged on cases (Motata, McBride, Jub Jub, Shabir, arms deal, travel gate..) do suggest that behind the scene things are not all what they should be. Yes, perceptions, become facts or judgments in the minds of people.

  • paul.prinsloo3 - 2012-02-28 13:53

    No discussion required at that which we read about on a daily basis; the Judiciary is a joke in danger of becoming a target of disgruntled, law-abiding citizens.

  • Derk - 2012-02-28 13:55

    what a load of crap,it should read "NO CONFIDENCE IN JUDICIARY"

  • samgaf - 2012-02-28 14:00

    What they do not tell you about the survey is that Only criminals like shabeer shake have confidence in it

  • Kuno - 2012-02-28 14:02

    Asked whether judges were biased towards the government, 38% agreed while 27% disagreed - while the "don't know" response was high at 36%. 101% had something to say... oh well

  • ludlowdj - 2012-02-28 14:16

    The impartiality of the judiciary is believed to be controlled by government, although I'm sure the ANC is pushing to gain control over them. The entire legal system from police to jailer needs to be completely overhauled as the confidence levels simply do not exist.

  • hector.cowen - 2012-02-28 14:43

    Sounds like the "High Court of Parliament" of apartheid days

  • Silas - 2012-02-28 14:45

    ow Higgs, I got five cases reported none of them. The last one I was robbed and the case changes Hands at the Police station, Its about God help!!!At the same tie Justice ep.mloys mentally desturbed Policemen to shoot us. Some cases are been quicker without thorough investigation, Especially poor disadvantage South Africans

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-02-28 18:55

    ...brief the media on judicial transformation and the role of the judiciary in a developmental state... And so the ANC spin starts. Propaganda machine kicks into gear. Developmental state...different...ordinary justice not good enough...transformation...get racist hatred fired up...the ANC is the liberator...only ANC knows what is good...fought against apartheid...struggle hero...not right to prosecute hero...innocent till proven guilty... The fact that the people within the judiciary must work within the framework of judicial principles, which are only mastered through many years of hard work, does not occur to the ANC. In our "equal" society it should not matter whether these principles are applied by a black person or a white person. The racist "transformation" agenda of the ANC therefore serves no useful purpose. Secondly: Legal principles are independent of the developmental status of a country. The only sense I get from Radebe's planned briefing, is that the ANC sees an opportunity to force its political will onto the populace through the judiciary, while the most of us are still too ignorant. This of course goes hand in hand with the planned Protection of Information Bill. Prepare to hear the same briefing in many different forms, repeated over and over again, until you yourself will wonder how you could ever have doubted the good old ANC.

  • Maliganpa - 2012-02-29 16:24

    the root problems that underly our judiciary system is that most of our people including the government are still reluctant to enforce transformation. Our government and high profile black figures still believe that law is still the property of the white minority. When political figures are in troble they run to whites to save them from whatever legal problems they face. When white people were in charge of poiltical government they set up enabling system for the whites to progress in their respective professions including finance. Many black law firms operate without overdraft making it difficult to afford a decent law library for the marterials which they need most to advance their carreers. This legacy of aparthed makes it difficult for blacks to attract the much needed skills. The same applies to education, only white schools can produce better results. So how can you achieve meaningfull transformation without the government taking the lead in this area. statics cannot help but this requires a bold action on the part of the government. Simply put, you cannot have a quality product unless it comes from whites, be it doctors, engineering accountants, balcks a;ways lag behind in terms of skills. master and slave mentality is here to stay until someone vigorously implement these well written policies. A fearless government is imperative

  • Maliganpa - 2012-02-29 17:09

    I cannot see this problem going away overnight if we lack the political will to transform our racial divided a country which has been ruled according to racial policies for over 300 years we need to engage openly with one another regarding the problems that beset our judiary system.We shall emerge from such debate with realistic society otherwise the current government will fail the future generation if this issue of transformation is not adressed now. Talking and Talking without action is a waste of time. Identify the problem areas and effect the necessary changes like it is easy to change the street names.Commissions have been set up in all spheres of government but someone lacks the courage to implement their recommendations in relation to transformation of the society in general, and not only the judiciary.Perhaps this is one area where the government feels affected by lack of transformation but what about the majority of our people still living in abject poverty, those who are still be humiliated by the minority and treated like dogs. Dogs are even better because they have private hospitals are well fed compared to street kids begging for food in the street. All these things are happening in the face of our so called rainbow nation.

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