Government will not review ConCourt powers: Pandor

21 February 2012 - 21:10 By Sapa

Government intends to review Constitutional Court decisions "germane to the executive" and not the powers of the court itself, Science Minister Naledi Pandor said on Tuesday.

Responding to opposition members' statements in the National Assembly, she said President Jacob Zuma had been very clear on this matter last week during his response to debate on the state-of-the-nation address.

"[He stated] that the intention of government is to review decisions that are germane to the executive and its exercise of power in terms of national and other legislation that has been [the] subject of rulings by the Constitutional Court.

"I did not hear him refer to reviewing the powers of the Constitutional Court," Pandor said.

The president's reply had "referred to decisions and an assessment of government, and to how those have impacted on policy and what lessons we of the executive must derive from that review".

This, she said, was necessary to improve the functioning of the executive and ensure policies were absolutely in line with what was mandated in the Constitution.

"So I don't know what all of this fuss is about and I really think members are looking for evil where none exists," Pandor said.

Earlier, Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said the government had a duty to uphold the principle of the separation of powers and respect the independence of the judiciary.

"President Zuma's remarks last week to the effect that his government intends to review the powers of the Constitutional Court are not only a serious affront to [this] principle... but also undermine public confidence in the executive's commitment to uphold the Constitution," Mazibuko said.

Pandor said the government was committed to upholding the Constitution.

"We are responsible for ensuring that we act with regard to it; we swear oaths to ensure it is implemented; [and] that we uphold it," she said.

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