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Judgement good for constitution at democracy

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Our courts have been inundated with cases that have to do with failures of governance at local, provincial and national government.

File picture: Siyabulela Dludla/GCIS

THE order by the Constitutional Court to force former Social Security minister Bathabile Dlamini to pay 20% of the legal fees for last year’s SA Social Security Agency debacle was a victory for accountability in our constitutional democracy.

For many years, senior leaders in government, including former president Jacob Zuma, have abused the public purse to fight futile court battles, instead of taking responsibility for their actions.

Our courts have been inundated with cases that have to do with failures of governance at local, provincial and national government.

Most of these cases would not have ended up in court had government leaders cared to do their work.

In many of these cases, ministers would stretch the matter from lower courts all the way to the Constitutional Court, represented by the most expensive legal minds in the country.

They would put up a “Stalingrad” legal battle not because they had strong cases – but because they considered the state as a bottomless pit and their own piggy banks.

There were instances in which ­government officials would use taxpayers’ money to engage in dirty and arrogant legal strategies to try and “exhaust” their opponents, even when they did not have strong cases. Such was their callousness and recklessness.

The apex court in our land has, once again, reminded those in power that they cannot do as they please.

This latest ruling should be a celebration of the strength and resilience of our constitutional democracy, which holds our leaders to account, irrespective of whether they have a parliamentary majority or won the elections.

The ConCourt is certainly helping to change our political culture of arrogance, wastefulness, recklessness and general carelessness on the part of our leaders.

This is a culture that has, year in and year out, cost us billions of rand in wasteful expenditure and the corruption that has led to state capture.

This is, indeed, a good day for our democracy and accountability!