Extension of deadline for submissions on transformation of the judiciary
2 May 2012The Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe released the discussion document on the transformation of the Judicial System and the Role of the Judiciary in the Developmental South African State on 28 February 2012 for comments.
Part of the work due to be undertaken entails the assessment of the impact of the judgments on the South African society and not to review them. We have also observed that some commentators made mention of “a review of the decisions of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court” which does not fall within the competence of either the Executive or the Legislature. This is misleading and tarnishes the integrity of the assessment exercise. Nowhere in the discussion document do we make any reference to the review of the judgments.
On 26 March 2012, the Terms of Reference, outlining the scope of the assessment, were released. These were accompanied by the announcement that the assessment of the impact of the judgments and their jurisprudence will be done in respect of both Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).
We reject suggestions made those who hold a view, that the decision to broaden the scope to include the SCA was in reaction to certain judgments of the SCA which went against government.
The Constitution places both the Constitutional Court and the SCA at the pinnacle of our jurisprudence and it would therefore be appropriate to assess the impact of the judgments of the two highest courts in the land. Part of the submissions and feedback we received soon after the release of the discussion document, carried a recommendation to broaden the scope to include the SCA.
This was a sensible proposition which we could not afford to ignore. In any event, the exclusion of the SCA would constitute a missed opportunity and would render the exercise incomplete. It was for these reasons that we decided to include the SCA judgments in the assessment process.
Parties interested in making submissions and contribution to this process, have approached the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, in an effort to request the Minister to grant an extension to the deadline for the submissions. The Minister has favourably considered the request and decided to grant the extension.
The deadline for submissions has now been extended and will now be 1 June 2012 and no longer 30 April 2012 as was previously announced. We trust that this extension will afford interested parties ample time to work on their submissions aimed at contributing to a better South Africa.
Numerous submissions have already been received and we would like to encourage South Africans to continue to engage with the document and make more submissions.
An announcement will be made in due course, probably after the cut-off date for the submissions, outlining the way forward and possibly giving an overview on the submissions received.
We would like to thank all commentators who sent their comments on the document which we found constructive and valuable. In a like manner, we would like to extend an invitation to those who could not submit their views to take full advantage of the extended deadline and make their submissions.
Seize the opportunity and contribute to the transformation of one of the essential pillar of our constitutional democracy – the Judiciary.
We look forward to your constructive invaluable contribution.
Cell: 082 333 3880
Issued by: Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
2 May 2012
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