If he were alive today, Barend van Niekerk would probably have felt slightly encouraged by recent trends in the area of free speech and the administration of justice. The judiciary and the administration of justice generally are receiving greater attention in legal journals and the lay press. Regrettably, however, many of the old restraints and taboos still loom large. With a few notable exceptions, comment critical of the administration of justice, although appearing with an encouraging frequency, remains polite, restrained, and largely ineffective. Nevertheless, the pioneering work done by Barend van Niekerk has lent encouragement to others to tentatively follow in his footsteps.
In this afterword I intend to discuss recent developments in the area of freedom of speech and the administration of justice in South Africa, Britain, and the United States. Only selected areas of the topic will be dealt with. The emphasis will be on developments in South Africa.
Since the death of Barend van Niekerk, there have been few reported cases that have a bearing on freedom of speech and the administration of justice. The dearth of cases on the subject is indicative of the stifling effect of the judgment in the second Van Niekerk case [ S v. Van Niekerk 1972(3) SA 711(A)]. The extremely restrictive test for contempt laid down by the Appellate Division in that case has probably caused many commentators to think twice before making pronouncements on matters affecting the administration of justice.
The enforcement of respect for the judicial office reached unprecedented heights in the recent trial of Albertina Sisulu and Thami Mali, both charged with furthering the aims of the outlawed African National Congress. The magistrate presiding at the trial, Mr. J. le Grange, warned spectators to stand up more quickly when he entered or left the courtroom as a delay showed "a certain measure of disrespect" (the Star January 21, 1984). In another recent case, the persistent requests of a person charged with a criminal offense to be defended by an attorney were punished as a contempt of court by the Magistrate hearing the case. The conviction was overruled by the Supreme Court as the accused had "replied calmly and courteously, and his only fault lay in his persisting with [his] desire for an attorney after it had been explained to him that no further