ConCourt assessment strange, DA says

2011-11-24 21:27

Johannesburg - Cabinet's decision to assess the Constitutional Court's judgments was "one of the strangest proposals to date", Democratic Alliance MP Dene Smuts said on Thursday.

"It will inevitably be seen as a sinister attempt to bend the bench to the executive and the ruling party's will, especially given the recent spate of hostile comment from such persons as ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and Deputy Correctional Services Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi, and the fact that it is common knowledge that certain judgments are unpopular with the ANC," she said.

Cabinet spokesperson Jimmy Manyi said earlier on Thursday that the assessment would be part of a broader look at the transformation of the judicial system and the role of the judiciary in a developmental state.

It would seek to ensure that the judiciary "conforms to the transformation mandate as envisaged in the Constitution" in terms of non-racialism, gender, disability and other transformational variables.

It would also examine access to justice on all levels of the courts, from the lower courts through to the Constitutional Court.

The third focus would be to affirm the independence of the judiciary, that of the executive and of Parliament to promote independence and the interface necessary to realise transformation goals as envisaged in the Constitution.

The assessors would also want to see whether Constitutional Court judgments were having an impact on socio-economic issues.

However, Smuts said: "Cabinet's decision to subject the judgments of the Constitutional Court to research in order to see how they have influenced inter alia socio-economic transformation must rate as one of its strangest proposals to date."

The courts were not an instrument of government policy whose output could be measured on performance indicators and other governance criteria.

"They are there to give authoritative interpretation of the Constitution and the law."

She found it difficult to believe that Justice Minister Jeff Radebe would have come up with the idea as he had consistently respected the doctrine of separation of powers.

The assessment was reminiscent of the National Planning Commission's "Vision 2030", which suggested that "progressive" judges should be appointed against the background of the country's socio-economic context.

"Will candidates have to demonstrate progressive political or economic credentials?" she asked.

Comment was not immediately available from Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, who leads the Constitutional Court, or from the Judicial Service Commission.

  • Marion - 2011-11-24 21:42

    Cabinet's decision to assess the Constitutional Court's judgments was "one of the strangest proposals to date",... Shades of Africa gone rotten, this isn't strange it is positively scary !! Why don't these b****y people concentrate on bettering the lives of people in the country instead of being so obsessed with the justice system! As if it is not bad enough that they're constantly in other courts defending the indefensible now they want to check on the Concourt's judgements??? The judiciary is doing its job. How about you guys do yours?

      Heinrich - 2011-11-24 23:19

      Leonard: Yes. like they helped in Zimbabwe.

      Youefoh - 2011-11-25 08:54


      Spyker - 2011-11-25 11:49

      @Leonard.., It is only the grossly naive and the willfully blind that cannot- and will not see that SA WILL go exactly the same way as Zimbabwe. There are two institutions that are the fundamental enemies of a FASCIST REGIME - ie independent MEDIA and -COURTS. The fascist black nationalist ANC regime cannot run a country (period) - specifically they cannot govern under civil laws and as such is an ILLEGAL REGIME. The warning lights are flashing at the brightest red it has in the past 17 years. The inconvenient reality is: you have only one of two options, THE SUITCASE OR THE SWORD. We have NO option but to rise up physically against the illegal fascist regime that is occupying the SAcan government at the moment. If you cannot- or will not do it, you are either the enemy of freedom in SA or you should rather flee...

  • Jack - 2011-11-24 21:42

    They think they can bend the banana without anybody noticing it in a banana republic.

      Refilwe IronMan Rakoma - 2011-11-24 21:56

      jack you live in a cave! Since when does a so called banana republic have a seat on the U.N security council. The term is also racist and offensive to black people.

      Michael - 2011-11-24 22:08

      100% correct @Xavier7034 but wasted on a chop who won't/can't understand.

      PeggySven - 2011-11-24 22:15

      refilwe, South Africa does not have a seat on the UN Security Council. It has a temporary seat, which is rotated so that more Banana countries from around the world get a taste of what it is like to F--K Up the rest of the world alongside their own Banana Republic countries. Also, why is the word Banana Republic racist and an insult to Blacks? Are you all so thin skinned or are you just once again playing the victim?

      Heinrich - 2011-11-24 23:31

      Ironman : Did you check our seat? How sure are you there is no chain?

      Harley - 2011-11-25 08:44

      @refilwe, yes and our governments un-ending support for dictators and human rights abusers is making us all very proud of it too, grow a concience my bru

      Glyn - 2012-03-15 10:30

      @Refilwe IronMan Rakoma - Tough! The term "banana republic" comes from those little fascist South American republics that acted against the will of the people and murdered the ones who disagreed with the ruling Generals. Looks like the anc is taking our country down that road. We can stop that now by not supporting the anc fascists.

  • Marius - 2011-11-24 21:45

    The ANC strikes again. Tell us: How does this decision benefit any of the voters?

  • Marius - 2011-11-24 21:46

    Where is Vusi when we need him?

  • colin.dovey - 2011-11-24 21:56

    They eat, sleep and dream the "game" of politics, while the country and its people fall even further into the abyss. It is really bizarre.....they play the game as though it was more important than the people that supposedly voted them into power. Power corrupts...absolute power corrupts completely.

  • Michael - 2011-11-24 22:03

    Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng (controversially) nominated and appointed by the president. Then Mogoeng appoints disgraced Judge President John Hlophe to the JSC to screen candidates for the bench. Now a bunch of ill-equipped politicians want to assess the ConCourt. For my 5c worth (or should that be 10c now?) we shouldn't be surprised by the "findings" - pfffffffft...

  • Heinrich - 2011-11-24 22:18

    Our democracy is on track. There are, however a few more things for the ANC to do before we are fully transformed into a modern African democracy. 1) The judiciary should be made to understand that the will of the people is embedded in the ANC. Therefore the ANC can override any court's decision. 2) Suitable incentives (farms, businesses,assets abroad, huge cash payments) should be found to retain and boost the loyalty of the Armed Forces. 3) The citizenry should be politically trained. Patriotism and loyalty towards the ANC should be second nature. The people of S.A. should be taught how to show their gratitude towards the ANC. 4) All People should be encouraged to participate in our democracy. They should have absolute faith in the ability of the ANC to count the votes after, and even before, (to save time) elections. 5) Our country needs to develop a culture of dicipline. Anyone opposing the will of the people ( the will of the ANC) should be severely disciplined.

  • Maggie - 2011-11-24 22:19

    What do you have in mind,Marion?

      Marion - 2011-11-25 07:59

      Hi Maggie... about how to better the country or how those in government should be doing their jobs?

      Marion - 2011-11-25 09:29

      Maggie, I decided to respond to what I thought your question was aimed at. Insofar as improving the lives of South Africans goes, one idea that was proposed on the fb site Masakheni uMzansi Afrika (Let’s Build Africa), and that I was sold on, was: That marijuana be de-criminalised to enable hemp (the non narcotic variety) to be grown in legitimate enterprises. Hemp grows very fast, doesn’t require all kinds of nutrients etc., so is cheap to produce. It can be used in approximately 25 000 products, including building materials and even motor car manufacture. This would create many employment opportunities from producer to final product. Those who want to smoke weed will do so anyway whether it is illegal or not. Insofar as government structures doing their jobs better goes, I think one of the places the government could start would be to start filling the coffers with some cash to undertake projects. They can enforce stringent controls on signing authorities within departments. For example, if someone wants to go on an overseas trip, or stay in a hotel, that authorisation must be accompanied by a strong motivation and approved at a much higher level than the person applying for the trip/hotel stay and then vetted by someone else at a higher level. Perhaps there are already measures in place, but I don’t believe they are being controlled properly to prevent abuse. This abuse of travel and hotels has been a major problem during the ANC’s tenure.

  • cyanideandhappiness - 2011-11-24 22:22

    It's very clear guys, they know that laws such as the Protection of Info act will be torn apart by the Con Court system, and now that they have their way in direct governing law, they need to modify the system and the constitution to keep it in place. We see through you ANC, step lightly, this could destroy you. And personally, I hope it does...

  • Kevin - 2011-11-24 22:24

    Refilwe the words "banana republic" have been around for many years and referred to the lack of democracy and democratic institutions in Central and South American countries. If black people find the term offensive it is because they are hypersensitive, or suffer from feelings of inadequacy resulting from their elected representitives being at odds with open and accountable government. It should also be remembered that the political leadership of those South and Central American countries were largely a white elite emanating from Spain and Portugal. It was to these countries that the Nazi leadership in Germany sought to flee after the and World War. As for a seat on the Security Council, do you think that the permanent members would be happy with a country on the Security Council that stood up for democracy, accountability and responsible governance?

      Richard - 2011-11-24 22:35

      "Banana Republic denotes a politically unstable country dependent upon limited primary productions (e.g. bananas), which is ruled by a plutocracy, a small, self-elected, wealthy group who exploit the country by means of a politico-economic oligarchy" wiki special to supplement. ;-)

  • rory.short1 - 2011-11-24 22:44

    This could be frightening. You either believe in the supremacy of the Constitutional Court in interpreting the Constitution or you do not. How dare you as a politician undertake a review of the Constitutional Court's decision's unless it is purely to see where you have deviated from the Constitution and therefore need to change your ways. If it is not for that purpose alone you are completely out of order and a direct threat to our democracy.

  • nhlakanipho.maseko - 2011-11-24 22:54

    if you don't know why the anc pursuing extreme measures such as the "info bill" and the ConCourt assessment, you must be living in a cave. It's quite clear that they're making a point as to who exactly is in charge of this country. The anc clearly feels like it's still undermined by a certain section of the country. Basically it is a show of strength. It won't stop here - next will be the mines. Its got nothing to do with hiding corruption, but there will be those (and many) who manipulate the system to steal from the country. after that well...bye bye anc...hello the two dreaded twins Miss Mazibuko and Mr Malema...then there will be trouble...

      Marion - 2011-11-25 10:55

      @nhlakanipho... I'm intrigued by the fact that you call Lindiwe one of the dreaded twins... what do you see in her that many of us don't?

  • Heinrich - 2011-11-24 23:35

    You have a strange way of expressing yourself, D.A. Someone walks into your dining room, defecates on your table, and you say "How strange".

  • Transkie Sun - 2011-11-25 06:53

    Maseko: I agree

  • Omnivore - 2011-11-25 08:08

    If SA does indeed go the way of the rest of the continent, the abiding tragedy, the thing that will be taught in history classes decades from now, is that most South Africans never understood what a brilliant constitution they had.

  • tacod - 2011-11-25 08:16

    By the sounds of it the ANC would like to have a say in the Concourt and have the Concourt bend to their will. It will be the end of the independence of justice in South Africa. The ANC want to ensure that when the Info Bill is presented to the Concourt that the Concourt deliver the verdict that the ANC want and screw the rest of the population. As well known, only a few benefit from the BEE and AA in the country and the some in the world actually notice the degradation of South Africa. They will not intervene until South Africa is a true basket case that would plead to the rest of the world for aid. Then the world would say "We will feed your people but in exchange we will take over the country and all its wealth. Zimbabwe also started with the intervention in the justice system so that the courts jump to the whims of the ruling party. Once the ANC has control of the Concourt, nothing will stand in their way to destroy South Africa and enrich themselves to the detriment of it's people.

      Marion - 2011-11-25 10:57

      Hopefully they cannot manipulate all the Concourt judges (Hlophe incident re Zuma refers).... yet... You raise valid points.

  • Mike - 2011-11-25 08:29

    The transformation of the judiciary? What now you have muzzled the press you want to start mingling with the constitution and the constitutional court? But I forgot the Africa National Criminals have already Moegoe - so justice is out of the door too.... Cry the beloved country cry....

  • BetBoon - 2011-11-25 08:49

    The implementation of full-fledged communism happening faster and faster…….

  • Jacques - 2011-11-25 09:03

    Another waste of taxpayers money!

  • Elkieta - 2011-11-25 11:15

    Only one thing to do here.They must be taken out by force.I mean they must die without the ANC card in their pockets........

      Marion - 2011-11-25 11:39

      Elkita... how does your comment differ from Julius Malema's comment regarding overthrowing the government of Botswana?

  • Rosetta - 2011-11-25 12:25

    Does no one see what is happening? First the ANC votes to pass the secrecy bill then they want to assess the constitutional courts past judgements??? iS TO ENSURE THE BILL GETS PASSED??ZIMBABWE HERE WE COME!! DICTATORSHIP FOR SURE!! I GAVE IT 5 YEARS FOR SA TO BE WHERE ZIM IS ,HELL I WAS SO WRONG WE THERE ALREADY!!!

  • TheWatcher - 2011-11-25 12:50

    ok so they pass the info bill by force, the opposition parties and even some ANC allies say they are going to take it up with the constitutional court. Now the government is assessing the Constitutional Court? Does anybody else smell a rat? The separation of the courts was designed to ensure that no single entity could control all aspects of government, take that away the only reason I can think of is to consolidate power...

  • Vince.York - 2011-11-25 13:01

    Nice doggy, need another little tidbit? Just a touch of sugar here and a bit of bloody meat on a bone there? SA's very own 'Conned Court" by chance.

  • Vic - 2011-12-18 22:06

    The cancer is spreading throughout Africa like wildfire. Next the idiots will be appealing to the outside world for financial help, when foreign Companies decide to disinvest. It's time that the black electorate were educated into voting with their heads and not their hearts, to kick the ANC out of power,before it totally destoys South Africa. Stop following like sheep, the gullible electorate !

  • Glyn - 2012-03-15 10:23

    All those countries who helped the anc get the nats out and themselves into power must now stick to their principles and discipline the anc! The rest of us can do our bit by voting DA.

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