Our judges must be left alone
While accepting that the judiciary is not, and should not, be beyond criticism, former DA Chief Whip Douglas Gibson believes that those who value and support the Constitution must be increasingly concerned at the level of attacks on the judiciary.
‘Gratuitous smearing of our judges is not legitimate and ought to be resisted by everyone who cares about the Constitution,’ he says.
In an analysis in The Star, Gibson points to the ‘pertinent’ remarks by UCT Public Law Professor Hugh Corder (See Malema’s criticism of the courts is dangerous): ‘In any constitutional democracy worth the name the judiciary will be the ultimate guarantor of the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution’; and that ‘… critics should ask themselves to which constitutional institution will they turn for protection in the future.’
Gibson goes on to note the ‘intemperate’ attack by Johannesburg attorney Raymond Chalom (see Another broadside against judges).
Chalom, says Gibson, is disgruntled because on two occasions after applying, he was not appointed as a judge.
‘Without adducing any convincing evidence, he proceeded to smear all judges, stating the judiciary is corrupt.’
Gibson – a former justice spokesperson in Parliament and a member of the Judicial Service Commission – says he never regarded Chalom as being of sufficient personal or professional standing to make him a natural candidate for appointment as a judge.
On Chalom’s claim that he was an ‘anti-apartheid attorney’, Gibson notes Chalom was ‘a leading light’ in the New Republic Party – which stood for a four-chamber Parliament, with one for blacks and one for every other race group – and a party described by the anti-apartheid PFP as a ‘racist party’.
Says Gibson: ‘Our Constitution is precious and the losers who undermine it with wild and unsubstantiated allegations need to be repudiated.’
© Juta and Company (Pty) Ltd 2016
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