South Africa’s two highest courts have assisted social transformation in South Africa.
This is part of the findings of a report assessing the impact of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal on the transformation of society.
The Justice and Correctional Services Minister, Michael Masutha, released the report in Pretoria.
The report assesses the impact of the decisions of the two high courts in the country on the transformation of society.
The research team assessed forty-three landmark cases heard by the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal, covering a wide range of socio economic rights.
Professor Narnia Bohler-Muller from the Human Science Research Council (HSRC) says the report which was written over a period of two years; found that the courts have played a critical role in transforming the country.
“The court knows what its role is within the doctrine of separation of powers which is a central doctrine of separation of powers. So the court does not overreach in fact it ensures that it plays a very vital role. Of course the courts have made judgments that have been uncomfortable for the executive in terms of socio economic rights such as the TAC campaign.”
The judiciary has received heavy criticism for overstepping its boundaries, being accused of interfering in the executive through its judgments.
But Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha say the report has proven that this is not the case.
There was also speculation that the report was initiated as an attempt to review the powers of the courts.
“It was a concern at the beginning. But this may as well be the unstated intention. But I think that from the body of the report itself that that was not the purpose.”
Masutha says the report will also assist in policy and law making for the executive.
“It provided a much more greater clarity to the executive, to parliament on exactly in respect of each of the aspects that the courts shall have adjudicate on , what the obligation or how far the obligation of the executive or parliament go. And we think that understating is critical.”