SA’s judges prove their worth

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

Tbal­lot. view. HE coun­try’s ju­di­ciary this week again dem- on­strated why this arm of gov­ern­ment is widely trusted. The per­cep­tion is that when our higher courts make rul­ings, they do so on be­half of the cit­i­zens of this coun­try and are fur­ther­ing the com­mon good. Our Con­sti­tu­tional Court ruled that the speaker of the Na­tional Assem­bly has the power to or­der a se­cret bal­lot in a vote of no con­fi­dence against Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma. Chief Jus­tice Mo­go­eng Mo­go­eng, in a unani- mous judg­ment, did not in­ter­fere in the af­fairs of Par­lia­ment and or­der the speaker to hold a se­cret In­stead the judges ad­vised Par­lia­ment that it has a con­sti­tu­tional re­spon­si­bil­ity to serve the peo­ple by hold­ing the ex­ec­u­tive branch of gov­ern­ment to ac­count. The judg­ment can be in­ter­preted as gen­tly nudg- ing MPs to put their obli­ga­tions to the nation ahead of blind loy­alty to the par­ties who selected them to go to Par­lia­ment. This is even more so in the case of the speaker, Baleka Mbete, who has once more to jug­gle the hot po­tato and de­cide whether to hold a se­cret bal­lot and risk her ca­reer and Zuma’s, should ANC MPs break ranks. The dis­missal of for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han and down­grad­ing of the coun­try to junk sta­tus, the Gupta email rev­e­la­tions of the suc­cess of their state- of- cap­ture strat­egy, the threat to bank­rupt the coun­try through pur­su­ing the nu- clear en­ergy spend, the re­ces­sion and rise in un- em­ploy­ment, have all led to pub­lic im­pa­tience for an end to Zuma’s era. Con­trast the wis­dom of our judges with the over- step­ping of her pow­ers by Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisi- we Mkhw­bane, who di­rected Par­lia­ment to change the con­sti­tu­tion in or­der to cur­tail the in­de­pend- ence of the Re­serve Bank. Wisely, Par­lia­ment was hav­ing none of it and is tak­ing her find­ings on re-

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