Ruleof Law

Article excerpt

THE REJECTION of Schabir Shaik's appeal against his conviction and 15-year prison sentence by the Constitutional Court means he has exhausted the legal remedies open to him against what he considered to be a flawed judgment in the Durban High Court in June 2005.

The reverse side of that conclusion is that his conviction and sentence are fair and appropriate, not merely according to the presiding judge in the high court, Hilary Squires, but, significantly, according to five judges of the Supreme Court of Appeal and 10 judges of the Constitutional Court.

The requirements of the law have been fully met and the rule of law - on which South Africa's status as a constitutional democracy depends - has been upheld.

Shaik and his family are obviously bitterly disappointed. They would be wise, however, to reconcile themselves to the situation.

There is the consolation that South Africa's penal system provides generous opportunities for parole long before the completion of the full sentence for model prisoners. …