Panel discusses South Africa’s legislatures and the courts

The Dullah Omar Institute hosted a session at the Public Interest Law Gathering 2017 engaging with questions regarding the interplay between the legislatures and the courts in SA. This panel was facilitated by the Dullah Omar Institute’s Samantha Waterhouse and the panelists were Nonhlanhla Chanza from Law Society of South Africa, Tshepo Motsepe from Equal Education and Prof Steven Friedman from University of Johannesburg.

This panel engaged with questions regarding the interplay between the legislatures and the courts in South Africa’s democracy. Does the recent spate of high profile court cases involving the President and Cabinet Ministers mean that we have given up on the legislatures, and if so what are the implications of that for our democratic system? Legislatures are regularly informed on the performance of government departments and frequently fail to act on that information until a crisis point is reached, if at all. Should the courts be engaged in strategies calling the failing legislatures to account on inadequate oversight over failed accountability on issues such as the SABC board, social grants, basic education, transformation of police resourcing and so forth? Thirdly, in terms of the legislatures’ political functions are we witnessing an unsustainable and potentially dangerous judicialisation of politics driven by party-political interests, or rather a proper expression of the role of courts in a constitutional democracy? Finally, how have South African courts dealt with these pressures thus far and how may the recent jurisprudence influence the interplay between courts and legislatures in the future?

The Public Interest Law Gathering is an annual event bringing together public interest legal practitioners and organisations, law students, paralegals, social movement leaders and legal academics with the aim of serving as a focal point for professionals in the field to share and develop knowledge.  Focusing on public interest litigation, the gathering is a collaborative knowledge-sharing exercise, as well as an opportunity to promote networking in the public interest community.

 Please follow this link to view pictures from this event