The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) expresses its concerns about the current violence in our country and calls for calm and restraint.
As a constitutional democracy, South Africa recognises and protects the right for citizens to protest. The LSSA fully supports the right of people to protest within the confines of our law.
The loss and destruction of infrastructure and property mainly affect the workers and the poor, and the losses will not be easily nor quickly rectified. The legitimate protests of people must be respected; however, they must be in the confines of the law.
The destruction and looting of businesses and ransacking of liquor outlets also indicate opportunists hiding behind the fears and anxieties of the people protesting and highlighting their grievances and or concerns.
The LSSA’s views and its call for the cessation of violence during protests are informed by the following:
- The current protests are fueled by a misunderstanding of the law and the role of the courts.
- The violence that accompanies the protests is a threat to the rule of law, which is the core of and underpins South Africa’s constitutional democracy.
Regarding the above, the following principles of the rule of law must be emphasised:
the supremacy of law, equality of all citizens before the law, and the rights of individuals are enforced by our courts.
People who have concerns about our social fabric and injustices can utilise protests and other ways to express and engage on the issues without violence.
The function of ensuring justice is entrusted to the country’s independent judiciary, whose functioning is outside the government’s control, influence, and purview.
ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE PRESIDENT’S SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF SOUTH AFRICA, MR JAN VAN RENSBURG (PRESIDENT), MS MABAENG LENYAI (VP) AND MR MVUZO NOTYESI (VP)
Nomfundo Jele nomfundom@LSSA.org.za Tel: (012) 366 8800 or 072 402 6344