The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services has welcomed the proposal made by the Minister regarding a colloquium for the sector later this year.
The colloquium will include all stakeholders in the sector. Acting Committee Chairperson, Ms Chana Pilane-Majake, said this will be a very useful exercise. “People sometimes complain about others encroaching on their turf. It will be good to have all the parties in one room to discuss where some powers stretch to or where some end.”
The department intends to host a colloquium towards the end of the year where the Office of the Chief Justice and the independence of the judiciary will be discussed with a wide range of stakeholders. Ms Pilane-Majake said the Committee looked forward to the colloquium as this will provide clarity on many issues.
Ms Pilane-Majake’s comments come after Mr Michael Masutha, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, told the Committee in his political overview that he had noted comments made by the Chief Justice of the country regarding the independence of the judiciary and the status the Office of the Chief Justice should enjoy.
Minister Masutha explained that the Constitution did not provide for the Chief Justice to assume executive authority. Chapter 8 of the Constitution did not bestow such obligations on the judiciary. He emphasised that the Office of the Chief Justice was different from the Office of the Auditor-General, a Chapter 9 institution on which the Constitution expressly states that institutions supporting democracy are accountable to, and must report to the National Assembly at least once a year. He expressed doubt about whether the judiciary reporting to Parliament in that fashion was desirable or practical.
Source : Parliament of South Africa