n Stellenbosch Law Review = Stellenbosch Regstydskrif - The implications of the office of the Chief Justice for constitutional democracy in South Africa

Volume 24, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1016-4359
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2193



When all others fail in their obligations to give practical expression to the rule of law, human rights and the constitutional aspirations of all the people in any democracy, that constitutional democracy would be safe - provided a truly independent body of judges, loyal to the oath of office or solemn affirmation, is in place and ready to administer blind justice to the aggrieved.

Government by its very nature is divided into three branches. The Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. As you know, the three tiers of the Executive government are led by the President. Each tier enjoys real autonomy beginning with the national and provincial governments to the smallest municipality you can imagine. Their success or failure is entirely or largely in their hands. Similarly, the Legislative branch of government is led by the Speaker and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces at national levels, by Speakers at provincial levels, again by Speakers at local government level. They are also institutionally independent.
These two branches of government have their own vote accounts, they are vested with the power to determine the administrative support they need, to work out job descriptions and salary levels for their personnel and to decide which projects to embark on according to their own order of priority. But the same cannot be said of the South African Judiciary.

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