In the case of Azapo and Others v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others 1996 (4) (1) SA 671 (CC) (the Azapo case) (see 1996 DR 647 and 816, and 1997 DR 493), applicants sought to attack the constitutionality of s 20 of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act 34 of 1995* (the Act) on the grounds that its consequences were not authorised by the interim Constitution. The gist of their argument was as follows: the granting of amnesty in respect of gross violations of human rights as provided for in s 20 of the Act effectively denies applicants and victims or, if deceased, their dependants the right of access to court, guaranteed in s 22 of the interim Constitution, to bring civil claims against perpetrators of gross violations of human rights.
Litigation is not for the faint-hearted. Most people, sensibly, try to avoid the cold reality of the courtroom. But, occasionally, one comes across an individual who relishes using the weapons the law provides to achieve his ends. Probably the most prolific such litigant that South Africa has seen, and certainly the most colourful, was the extraordinary entrepreneur, Jimmy Logan.