Chief Justice Raymond Zondo issued the unanimous decision releasing Janusz Walus on parole after 29 years in prison.
The judiciary is already under political pressure, and the last thing Chief Justice Raymond Zondo needs right now is for the ruling party to protest on his doorstep for implementing the rule of law. write Adrian Basson.
In what can only be described as crude and myopic populism, the ANC and its alliance partners, Cosatu and the SACP, have announced that they will picket outside the Constitutional Court on Saturday to protest the court’s ruling on the matter. of the parole of Janusz Walus.
This is another low point in the ANC’s continued decline from a once proud liberation movement to a corrupt, immoral and failed political party.
Since 1994, unless memory fails me, the ANC has never protested outside of the country’s highest court and the Chief Justice. This is an extraordinary and reckless moment.
Obeyed the supremacy of the court
In fact, the ANC was one of the main architects of our constitutional dispensation, with the likes of Kader Asmal, Brigitte Mabandla, Marion Sparg, Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini, Bulelani Ngcuka, Willie Hofmeyr and many others leading the constitutional assembly that led to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Despite its many flaws, the ANC has never in 28 years protested a ruling by the country’s highest court, even when it lost. Even during the dangerous Zuma years, the ANC and its government proxies have obeyed the rule of law and implemented or acted on court rulings, even when they disagreed with it.
That is what happens in a democracy where the rule of law reigns.
Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, writing for a unanimous court, took pains to explain in the ruling that the framers of the Constitution did not intend to exclude anyone from the Bill of Rights when they wrote the pivotal document.
“[W]hen the fathers and mothers of our constitutional democracy wrote our Constitution and included in it the Bill of Rights, they did not write a Bill of Rights that would confer fundamental rights only on those who fought for democracy and not on those who had supported or opposed apartheid. to the introduction of democracy in this country. They drafted a Bill of Rights that conferred fundamental rights on everyone, including those who had wholeheartedly supported apartheid. In fact, they drafted a Bill of Rights that conferred fundamental rights even on visitors to our country so that, upon entering our country, they begin to enjoy the benefits and protections of our Bill of Rights,” says part of the sentence.
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Instead of upholding the rule of law and helping society cope with the Walus ruling, difficult for some to accept, the ANC has chosen the populist route, at a very high cost.
At a time when there is mounting political pressure on the judiciary, and the best legal minds in the country are loath to take the stand (read my colleague Karyn Maughan’s excellent essay on this topic here), the latest that Zondo and his colleagues need now is a protest by the ruling party in front of the gates of the court.
As if the pressure on Zondo for presiding over the State Capture Inquiry wasn’t enough, he must now deal with the country’s ruling party that apparently refuses to accept a ruling from the country’s highest court.
The Zondo trial is very clear that it was not legal for the justice minister to continue to keep Walus behind bars while he qualified for parole. Nothing less, nothing more.
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As despicable as Walus’s crime was, and as much as one feels sympathy for Limpho Hani and his family who are continually re-traumatized when this matter reaches court, there is simply no way to argue that the laws of the land should not apply to one. . particular individual.
The ANC has never protested outside the Constitutional Court so that serial rapists, murderers and con artists “rot in jail”. And when was the last time members of parliament from the party tabled fundamental changes to the Correctional Services Act, which governs probation?
This is a dangerous and cynical time for the ANC to protest a trial that its own administration must implement. The only possible explanation for this ridiculous picketing could be the party’s continued attempts to divert attention from its own government failings which become clearer by the day.
– Adriaan Basson is editor-in-chief of News24
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