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Courts are not places to settle scores


One wonders when this will all end and when exactly organisations and individuals will begin respecting the rule of law

File photo: Pexels

OVER the past few years, courts have been inundated with countless applications and counter applications, submitted by various political parties and their leaders or heads of state-owned institutions as they seek for the judiciary to overturn certain reports or enforce certain rules.

A case in point is the ongoing and intensifying battle between President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, or at times Mkhwebane versus Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

The latest ruling against Mkhwebane by the North Gauteng High Court over her investigation into the Free State’s Estina Dairy Project, which found she had neglected to consult those who were affected by the scandal and ordered her to pay 85% of the legal costs in the applications brought forth by the DA and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution, is perhaps telling of the looming crisis in the government.

Simply put, the back-and-forth, cat-and-mouse game between the PP’s office and those who take her to court is unhealthy for governance.

Granted, democracy and the Constitution allow for organisations such as chapter nine institutions to conduct their work without fear of prejudice and for those who feel aggrieved to seek legal resource.

However, one wonders when this will all end and when exactly organisations and individuals will begin respecting the rule of law.

Our courts can never and should never be places where it has become conducive for the government to settle scores at the expense of taxpayers and backlogs of the many important cases that need to be resolved for all those who seek justice.

The courts are meant to uphold the rule of law and decide accordingly what is in the best interest of democracy and fairness.

For instance, today marks the 7th anniversary since 34 mineworkers in Marikana were killed.

The anniversary should not limit communities to being sombre for just a day, but should propel them to begin asking questions about how the mineworkers, spouses and families of those who perish daily underground can be assisted.

In their honour, it is perhaps urgent applications and counter applications of their cases that should be piling our courts.