Mantashe's ConCourt remarks scandalous: DA

2011-08-18 21:57

Cape Town - ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has insulted Constitutional Court judges and should be repudiated, the DA said on Thursday.

Mantashe's observations on the Constitutional Court, made in an interview with Sowetan editor Mpumelelo Mkhabela, were "simply scandalous", Democratic Alliance spokesperson Dene Smuts said.

"They take us back to the point when he accused judges of being counter-revolutionaries. He has insulted the independence, impartiality, and integrity of the Constitutional Court judges.

"He strikes at the heart of the constitutional order under which the courts must uphold the supremacy of the Constitution... by suggesting that there is a dangerous trend towards 'hostility' on the part of the court towards the other arms of state.

"President Zuma and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe should repudiate him and tell him to shut up," Smuts said.

Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota called Mantashe's assertions "ill-considered and extravagant in the extreme".

Established practice

The independence of the judiciary was established in the Constitution to strengthen the democratic order, he said. It did this by ensuring the other arms of government, especially the legislature, made law consistent with the Constitution as written and adopted by Parliament.

"As such the court does not uphold law which appeals to its fancy, but one that complies with the national Constitution."

Therefore, where law in conflict with the Constitution was adopted, the judiciary was required to dispassionately rule it null and void.

"This is not a peculiarity of the South African constitutional arrangement; rather it is established practice in all democracies," Lekota said.

In the interview, Mantashe said, among other things, there were "many things happening in the judiciary that will only be seen in 10 years time".

"One of the things that is dangerous, the independence of judiciary and separation of powers must never be translated into hostility, where one of those arms becomes hostile to the other."

Unless this issue was addressed it was going to cause instability. It undermined the other arms of government.

Asked whether he meant instability in the judiciary, Mantashe said: "No, instability in government. You can't have a judiciary that seeks to arrest the functioning of government."

On whether judges were positioning themselves as an opposition, he said one had to "look at some of the judgments of the Constitutional Court".

Slippery road

The Glenister case - in which chapter six of the SA Police Service Act as amended, which enabled the disbanding of the Scorpions and the formation of the Hawks, was declared constitutionally invalid - was an example.

"That judgment itself seeks to cast aspersions on the work of Parliament," he said.

"Yes, it seeks to make the Hawks independent - fine, we will implement that - but once you have that kind of judgment that ventures into political weighting of views, then it's a slippery road we have embarked on.

"Even the judgment on the extension of the term of [former] chief justice Sandile Ngcobo looks very suspicious.

"Every time there is legislation that passes through Parliament - for example the [draft] protection of information bill - there is a threat that it will be taken to court and the court might position itself emotionally to reverse it. That's a problem.

"The worst thing that can happen is if Parliament gets flat-footed. We are getting close to a situation where Parliament drafts legislation and refers it to the Constitutional Court before passing it."

Asked whether it was not the right of the court to adjudicate on the constitutionality of laws, Mantashe said that was not a problem.

"It's about how that right is exercised. If the Constitutional Court positions itself to create a perception that it will overturn anything passed by Parliament, [that will] make nonsense of the democratically elected Parliament," he said.

  • gatvol4corru - 2011-08-18 22:01

    Was Mantashe born an idiot? Or did the ANC groomed him this way?

      Al Chemist - 2011-08-18 22:11


      OuWitBooi - 2011-08-18 22:34

      To be that much of an idiot you have to have both.

      White Knight - 2011-08-19 00:12

      LOL he was born that way.. or just gone gaga!

      Marcell - 2011-08-19 04:25

      Hy is nie gebore nie. Hy is met 'n stuk suur pap uit die drain uitgelok. Jammer hy het oorleef!

      Netherlands - 2011-08-19 07:09

      Fell on his head as a BABY!

      Babba x - 2011-08-19 07:19

      One of the pre-requisites to become an ANC government officicial is to be an idiot

      Lab-Rat - 2011-08-19 08:02

      Most probably a bit of both.

      wsm - 2011-08-19 08:47

      There are some really idiotic comments on this blog. It will not help calling Gwede Mantashe an idiot (which he might well be, from our perspective). Rather look at the reason why he says what he says. Remember he is a SACP Communist (not just by name, but a REAL one, believe it or not). They are some of the wiliest politicians on the planet.. They are parasites in the ANC/SACP/Cosatu alliance because they cannot exist on their own.. yet they currently have 30% of the AMC MP's in Parliament.. power far above their 'worth' and value in the eye of society at large. Because they are Marxist, they believe the State is God and has to control every aspect of our very lives (but the real God gives a lot more freedom than they believe in). The Constitutional Court is frustrating their process of expanding State control to every area of life, therefore the Concourt's independence is a threat to their agenda.. Therefore they WILL try to undermine the Concourt's authority and try to intimidate the judges as well (Have you EVER heard of a Marxist who REALLY believes in democracy?) They just use if for their purposes - and yes, they are idiots for believing that a system which has failed everywhere else, and murdered 70 million people throughout history, will be successful when THEY run the country in THEIR (read: Marxist, read: NO freedom except for the powerful) way...

      Mallyg - 2011-08-19 10:36

      At least Gwede Mantashe is consistently reliable ... he never fails to dissapoint us.

  • Al Chemist - 2011-08-18 22:14

    I must say, I was a bit shocked by Mantashe's comments. Up until now, he's been the only one who has actually said anything that make much sense, certainly in the whole Julias Malema saga.

      OuWitBooi - 2011-08-18 22:36

      The only reason Mantashe is opposed to Malema is because he knows JM wants him out of the top 6. He is simply fighting back on a personal level.

      Democrat2011 - 2011-08-19 15:49

      Al Chemist, why are you shocked now? These are good questions to be asked. A law is used so many years, then suddenly when JZ uses it to extend Ngcobo's term then its unconstitutional? It raises eyebrows. People are saying Mogoeng is junior. But that is nonsense. The guy became a judge when Moseneke was still a businessman. The fact that Moseneke jumped over more senior judges to be deputy chief justice does not worry the media. It looks like the campaign for him is only based on the fact that he openly stated his views that he is anti ANC and anti JZ. Then who wants a judge like that who is openly biased against other organisations? Not me. We don't need judges that seem to be fighting the executive, period!

  • Vince York - 2011-08-18 23:50

    Are they "ALL" on the same stuff that affected the other spin doctor Jackson's thug?

      White Knight - 2011-08-19 00:19

      No I think they're all off their antipsychoyics wouldn't you guess?

  • alansmart223 - 2011-08-18 23:54

    gatvol4corru .. Naaah. He' an idiot

  • Andre - 2011-08-19 00:19

    Government is constantly in conflict with the constitution. To blame the Constitutional Court and its functionaries is hardly the answer. Mantashe is looking for blame in the wrong place. It is time for introspection rather than circumspection. (Not that they are intelligent enough to know the difference).

      Charlie - 2011-08-19 08:38

      He may think you talking about chopping the end of his willy off!

  • Chris - 2011-08-19 06:45

    It's a smoke and mirrors ploy to detract attention from the fact that the ANC has again failed to discipline Julius Malema and the refusal of Max Sisulu to allow a debate around our new Chief Justice.

  • ZumaGabe - 2011-08-19 07:17

    Its easy Mantashe you idiot - parlament must just make sure that the laws they write and pass are in line with the constitution. Get that ? or are your incompetent, lazy and corrupt cadres in parly to stupid to get that right ?

  • Slapper - 2011-08-19 07:37

    It again displays the ignorance, arrogance and incompetence of our top leaders. While we have leadership like this, we are going nowhere except backwards.

  • Chomp - 2011-08-19 07:37

    steve biko and mandela would never have dreamed of saying such ridiculous things not even as a private joke!! where's the learned anc members? why are the top educated members no where near the top?!!

      Lab-Rat - 2011-08-19 08:07

      I'm sure all the learned anc members would have left by now surely.

  • Carl - 2011-08-19 07:38

    Its taken them a while, but the anc has realised they must destroy our freedoms to stay in power, wont take long...did it?

  • Monjaro - 2011-08-19 07:48

    Typical. Whenever anyone takes a position against the ANC party line, even when totally justified it makes you 1.) a racist if white. 2.) Acounter revolutionary if not white! Bloody pathetic. Typical New South African ANC mentality.

  • Juliarse - 2011-08-19 07:56

    Gwede you tw@t, how about first ensuring that the legislation you and your cadres implement is able to withstand scrutiny and complies with the prescripts of the constitution. You make an @sshole of yourself when you make aspersions on judgments yet fail to highlight the specifics relating to the alleged error in judgement. Dumb@ss ... Then again, facts have never been high on the agenda of the ANC and ANCYL

  • Nkalakatha - 2011-08-19 07:56

    Maybe it will be a good thing if Government consult with the Con Court before implementing legislation. But Government is itself to blame if they "move" away from the constitution to suite their own agendas!! It is like they created a certain law and when that very same law comes to bite them, then they want to change it !!??

      Mad Hatter - 2011-08-19 08:16

      Too true, lets hope this isn't the start of a trash the concourt to seek favour in the public for constitutional changes which policies like nationalisation would have to change.

      Pencilgraffiti - 2011-08-19 08:32

      Agreed - When government has a cleaned up ALL of their corruption and have a clean slate for a few years then they can start making remarks like this if certain PROGRESS is too slow. But the current government has, if anything, proven it is corruptfriendly and the policy is to show the people "if you vote for me then soon you might be able to live like me" - A tactic that African politicians know work really well but that our people still need to figure out doesn't work in their interest.

  • Riley786 - 2011-08-19 08:24

    Well !!!! Mantashe has a point. Think of it this way. A democratic process has put the constitution in place so democracy can change it right...not yet though cause there is no majority 67%. The point I must say that he make is important to note that one arm within government should not be ar war with another department using the CON-Court. What I do believe is that the CON-Court should be left to do their work but need to consider the whole and not part of it only. So Mantashe you have my vote.

      tailormade - 2011-08-19 09:46

      With all due respect, but your logic makes absolutely no sense whatsoever! The only obligation the constitutional court to our constitution. Not the "bigger" picture of a few individuals. Our constitution protects our democratic state and our democratic rights. What you are supporting amounts to ja, then you better start praying for a 67% majority by the ANC.....and also accept the consequences that comes with that.

      Chris - 2011-08-19 22:42

      Let us not make the mistake of looking at Mantashe's viewpoint as correct. He fails to say that the Constitution Court was created to ensure Parliament never again passes Apartheid type laws. Now when Parliament is passing suspect legislation, because of it's arrogance which is not unlike that of the NP after ruling for three terms, the Constitution Court is weighing flawed legislation against the values of the Constitution he suddenly finds fault with the Constitution Court judiciary. It is a proven fact that dictators never want to have anyone gainsay anything they do. Unfortunately the current crop of Luthuli House deployed cadre's are being controlled by a cabal within Luthuli House which believe the ANC runs the country from Luthuli House and not Parliament. This is proof that we are entering the dictator era in South Africa

      Shaman Pete - 2011-09-16 01:13

      Riley, Most Constitutional democracies contain checks and balances in their legislative systems. It is there to give independent oversight to the legislative process and provide due scrutiny. There should never be a cozy relationship between Govt and the ConCourt. Remember, there is no such thing as a straight politician. They get to where they are because they are skilled manipulators and quite psychopathic [and that goes for all parties]. The sign of a mature democracy is that politicians are universally viewed with a large dollop of scepticism and a drop of contempt.

  • Riley786 - 2011-08-19 08:31

    Why would one call someone an idiot who is at the highest office of a ruling party!!! silly we should not degrade people cause we cannot deliberate effectively while controling emotions!!! well then thats called democracy or should this arm not say that about the other arm. Rugby is a team effort. South Africa incorporated is a team effort. Come on !!! people lets put shoulder to the wheel. Lets make a diference ...what have you done for your SA lately...the SA that so many run back to.

      Malleus - 2011-08-19 08:54

      I like the optimism but I am a realist.

      tailormade - 2011-08-19 09:49

      I agree: let's make a difference by supporting our constitution......not people that secretly wished our constitution didn't exist.

      Pencilgraffiti - 2011-08-19 10:04

      Yeah i'm sorry Riley but i agree with the others. I see what you're saying and i agree with it but considering our President is taking NO action against convicted corrupt officials and the fact that many try to sidestep the constitution to enrich themselves i must say that your optimism is a bit of a fairytale.. It is a beautiful country with beautiful people but so is the whole of Africa.. Beauty corrupted from within. We need to start taking care of ourselves and taking responsibility for ourselves. This political pettiness needs to end

      Phlegm - 2011-08-19 10:13

      Nice analogy, "Team Effort" - problem is a good team needs a strong captain, "Team South Africa" does not have a strong captain!

      Pencilgraffiti - 2011-08-19 12:34

      Yeah i'm sorry Riley but i agree with the others. I see what you're saying and i agree with it but considering our President is taking NO action against convicted corrupt officials and the fact that many try to sidestep the constitution to enrich themselves i must say that your optimism is a bit of a fairytale.. It is a beautiful country with beautiful people but so is the whole of Africa.. Beauty corrupted from within. We need to start taking care of ourselves and taking responsibility for ourselves. This political pettiness needs to end

      Chris - 2011-08-19 22:47

      Ah Riley, I am beginning to suspect you are a dyed in the wool ANC Spam Doctor? Fact is that if people made laughing stocks of the previous Dictators the world would not have had the likes of Stalin, Hitler, Idi Amin and Verwoerd, to but a few, running countries. Mantashe is a loose cannon and must be exposed at every opportunity we get.

  • The Gecko - 2011-08-19 08:49

    "We are getting close to a situation where Parliament drafts legislation and refers it to the Constitutional Court before passing it." Maybe that wouldn't be such a bad idea. Then they can stop wasting their time passing unconstitutional laws...

      Shaman Pete - 2011-09-16 01:21

      Precisely, It is the exact function that the House of Lords fulfills in the Westminster Parliament in the UK. They're constantly sending badly drafted legislation back to the Commons for redrafting.

  • beicime - 2011-08-19 09:06

    Ah, Ah, Ah... Mantashe finds "disgusting" having to stick to the constitution. We all know that the ANC does not care about the constitutions, the people of South Africa and warever else except themselves.

  • beicime - 2011-08-19 09:09

    Whay can't we comment on the article "... Speaker Max Sisulu has rejected the DA's request for a parliamentary debate on the "growing number of state deals that have reportedly benefited the friends and affiliates of President Jacob Zuma". ???????????????

  • Organist-1 - 2011-08-19 09:48

    Groom is the right word. BUT didn't you know all along that the ANc's interpretation of democracy (from the time of their inception) is "do what the boss tells you".

  • keketso - 2011-08-19 10:15

    KK:Put succintly, what Gwede wants is supremacy of parliament [or rather, of the party] rather than supremacy of the constitution. He can attain this by either changing the constitution or deploying party cadres to the constitutional court.SIMPLE!

  • Reality - 2011-08-19 20:07

    Have a look at Dilbert in today's Business Day and see what Mantashe does with everything.

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