Editorial: SA’s democracy is under attack

Article published on Mail & Guardian – 26 June 2015.

A fortnight ago, in an extensive interview with the Mail & Guardian, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng dropped a bombshell. The head of the judiciary had last year signalled that there were “very desperate attempts to frame me for criminal acts you can’t even begin to imagine”. Mogoeng’s former spokesperson also referred to attempts to “falsely accuse the chief justice of a crime”.

In the interview, Mogoeng said he had chosen to go public about the alleged smears, including a tale that his official vehicle was involved in an attempted hijacking and that he allegedly raped a sex worker, to counter any attempts to blackmail him in future. He also spoke of how three Constitutional Court justices had been falsely accused of being CIA spies, noting that the inspector general of intelligence, Faith Radebe, had been asked to investigate and had exonerated them.

Puzzlingly, there was little reaction, let alone outrage, from civil society, the legal profession, Parliament or the executive to Mogoeng’s startling claims. Since the chief justice went public with his allegations of a possible dirty tricks campaign, South Africa has been treated to a mind-boggling display of executive contempt for the judiciary.

Last week, the government thumbed its nose at an interim court order ordering it not to allow Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir to leave South Africa, where he was attending the annual African Union summit.

A clear picture is emerging: President Jacob Zuma, Cabinet ministers and South Africa’s law enforcement agencies actively colluded in this flagrant violation of the court order and our own legislation, ensuring that al-Bashir was not arrested to face the charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide that have been brought against him by the International Criminal Court. South Africa is a signatory of the Rome Statute, which mandated the existence of the ICC; in fact, South Africa’s Parliament gave the statute a place in our own law books.

Read the full Article here

Public Interest Law Gathering (PILG) at Wits 23-24 July

A Coming Together of Public Interest Law Practitioners in South Africa.

23-24 July 2015.

Venue: University of the Witwatersrand, School of Law.

Topics to be explored include:

  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Recent Strategic Litigation on the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000
  • Sentencing Reform
  • The Public Interest Legal Services Sector: Perspectives on Impact, Collaboration and Funding for Social Change
  • Watching Briefs
  • Reckless Lending and Emolument Attachment Orders
  • Respecting and Protecting the Rights to Freedom of Expression: Using Courts to Protect Human Rights Defenders in Southern Africa
  • Strategic Litigation and Transnational Fora
  • Social Assistance Advocacy and Litigation to Make Human Rights Real
  • The Dladla Judgment and the Provision of Temporary Alternative Accommodation

Registration: Opens June 15th and Closes July 17th 2015

Registration Link: Click here

*PILG is organised through a coordinating committee consisting of the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS), Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), ProBono.Org, Section27, the Socio-economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI), the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), Students for Law and Social Justice (SLSJ) and the University of the Witwatersrand, School of Law.