Use Your Rights, Concourt Judge Urges

Cape Times (South Africa), September 15, 2011 | Go to article overview

Use Your Rights, Concourt Judge Urges


A SENIOR judge says civil society is duty-bound to examine proposed government action for any apparent constitutional inconsistency and to take legal action if it seems necessary.

Speaking last week at Wits University, the Constitutional Court's Justice Zak Yacoob roundly criticised the view that primary responsibility for respecting and protecting fundamental rights lay with Parliament and the government, while the people of South Africa were merely "honorary recipients of that respect". Such a view was highly objectionable and even anti-constitutional.

Everyone had an obligation to help ensure that the fundamental values and principles of the constitution became part of South African life. Thus civil society was obliged to "examine proposed government and parliamentary conduct of every kind" to make sure it was not inconsistent with the constitution: "We cannot believe that because we voted for a party (it) will always do right by us. However much a government might dislike that approach it is our duty to remain vigilant," said Justice Yacoob.

"We must not feel guilty when told that we should not criticise the government we elected. We must be strong enough to say that we will do our duty and criticise regardless. And if government does not agree and we feel strongly about it, it is our constitutional duty to challenge the constitutionality of government and parliamentary action."

Justice Yacoob's remarks have a particular significance at this time because of criticism by government officials directed at those who bring legal challenges to state action or legislation.

He also spoke strongly in defence of constitutional supremacy, saying this was the cornerstone of post-apartheid democracy, inaugurated by former president Nelson Mandela on behalf of the ANC. This, too, is significant because the supremacy of the constitution - rather than Parliament - is another fundamental aspect of politics criticised recently by party and government officials.

Justice Yacoob restated a number of basic principles to be drawn from the constitution.

For example, he said the court on which he served was the only body that could decide whether government action was in accordance with the constitution. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Use Your Rights, Concourt Judge Urges
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.