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Sun May 29 05:57:32 CAT 2016

Celebrate that the rule of law is still respected in SA

The Times Editorial | 09 February, 2016 00:19

Forget for a moment the march by Julius Malema and his brigade to the Constitutional Court this morning.

Look beyond the noise made by those who seek cheap thrills as they march for or against President Jacob Zuma.

Today's hearing at the Constitutional Court is a firm statement that the rule of law is still respected in this country and that a head of state is as bound by the constitution and as subject to the courts as anyone else.

Not every day is a head of state the subject of a court case. But South Africa continues to defy the sceptics and our pillars of justice retain their integrity, despite threats from some.

Can you imagine what it would be like if our judiciary were dictated to by politicians and the rich, its decisions easily influenced?

A number of cases would have died an unnatural death; the courts would have been afraid to take on the powerful and the well-connected.

The gathering outside the court this morning should be seen as another milestone and as confirmation that we are truly a constitutional democracy.

The public protector, whose mandate has come under fire from those who fear her powers, should be protected. Thuli Madonsela, who is serving her last months in office, has stood her ground and has always said that the case against Zuma was not personal. She has always contended that the constitution guided her investigation and that her powers should be challenged only in court.

Now the Nkandla case has come this far, we hope that whatever decision the court arrives at will be respected by all.

We hope that politicians will achieve the maturity to allow our judges to pronounce without fear or favour.

As we follow the events outside and inside the Constitutional Court we should celebrate the fact that we are all equal before the law and that a head of state is just as accountable as the humblest citizen.

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