ANC policy conference to focus on judicial overreach

Constitutional Court justices. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

The new deputy chief justice, however, says claims of judicial overreach are exaggerated and without basis.

As the ANC gears up for its 5th national policy conference starting tomorrow, the party says it will put the role of the judiciary into sharp focus during the conference after numerous politically charged court cases raised questions about possible judicial overreach.

Gwede Mantashe, the governing party’s secretary-general, told SABC News on Wednesday the party would deliberate on the roles of the different arms of government, the judiciary, executive and parliament.

“When there is judicial overreach, courts take decisions about things that should be taken by legislatures or by the executive. It is very dangerous in the long term because for every action there is always a reaction; in the long term there will be a reaction of tightening the laws to stop it, and that is not desirable,” Mantashe said.

Meanwhile, newly appointed deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo dismissed continued accusations of judicial overreach by some structures of the ANC as exaggerated, and said they were without basis.

“It affects the confidence which the population may have in the judiciary. It’s an accusation that should not be made lightly, and if it’s made, it’s an accusation that should be made where it can really be adequately and properly motivated,” he said.

Last week, the Constitutional Court ruled in a unanimous judgment that National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete had the power to order a vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma by way of a secret ballot.

The highest court in the land set aside submissions by Mbete that she did not have constitutional authority to order the secret ballot.

The ConCourt also made it clear the speaker had a constitutional mandate to ensure that she took into account the risks associated with the decision, and that it could not only be based on the needs of her party. The case was brought by the UDM and supported by several opposition political parties and civil society organisations.

The ANC will hold its policy conference at Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg starting on Friday until Wednesday, July 5.


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