Sunday World (South Africa)

Bill of Rights applies to all South Africans


There were two separate court rulings this week which clearly set the cat among the pigeons. The two prominent judgments triggered anger in certain quarters, with some even threatenin­g violence if some of the orders are implemente­d in line with the respective court directives.

Of particular significan­ce were Supreme Court of Appeal’s ruling, which overturned the parole that was illegally granted to former president Jacob Zuma by his friend Arthur Fraser, as well as the Constituti­onal Court judgment that ordered the release of Janusz Walus – a Polish immigrant who fired those fatal gunshots that killed SA Communist Party leader Chris Hani.

There have been some disturbing public reactions to these two judgments. As reported elsewhere in this newspaper today, Zuma supporters are threatenin­g anarchy again should he be escorted back to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence. As much as we are convinced that Zuma already knows that he is not above the law after his imprisonme­nt last year, his supporters must also know they are equally not immune to the law.

The Department of Correction­al Services has already indicated it will appeal the judgment at the Constituti­onal Court – the very same court that sent Zuma to jail. This seems a futile exercise, which makes it difficult to imagine how correction­al services hopes to convince the Constituti­onal Court to overturn the Supreme Court of Appeal’s finding.

Instead of threatenin­g violence, Zuma’s disciples should be debating other peaceful and constructi­ve measures to assist their hero stay out of jail.

We agree with those who, for instance, argue the man is too old to go back to jail, although he has been unrepentan­t since he was granted parole through some underhande­d tactics. Sadly, the man has not behaved like someone who is medically incapacita­ted since his release. Instead, we have seen him organising media conference­s where he has attacked Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and the judiciary, as well as those he perceives to be his political opponents.

We are, however, of the opinion that – besides his folly – correction­al services must consider confining him to his Nkandla homestead to serve the remainder of his sentence on humanitari­an grounds based on his age.

The SACP, Cosatu and ANC also did not cover themselves in glory in their reaction to the Constituti­onal Court’s judgment, which ordered the release of that hated Waluz, who almost plunged us into a civil war with Hani’s assassinat­ion.

Waluz committed one of the most horrendous crimes in apartheid history. His crime is not by any measure different from those committed by Eugene de Kock – the apartheid assassin who earned himself a nickname of the “Prime Evil” because of the magnitude of violence he meted out on activists.

There were never such massive protestati­ons when De Kock was released. It is because we all understood the country’s laws must be applied equally to every citizen, including those we despise the most.

It is against this background that emotive language directed at the judiciary must be strongly condemned. It undermines democracy and the rule of law.

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