The South African Attorneys Association (SAAA) condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the recent murder of a person on the pavement outside the Court and in full view of a large crowd of bystanders. A Senior Advocate (also a witness) immediately alerted several Metro police officers, but they seemed reluctant to intervene.
This traumatic incident and other very disturbing aspects came to the attention of the SAAA. This includes, apparent disgraceful conditions which also prevail in the Johannesburg High Court precinct, including the pavement outside the Court been used as a public latrine and also the dark and dangerous places where members of the public must resort to park.
The SAAA warns that such behavior and vigilantism not only cultivate a culture of lawlessness and clearly disregards any respect for the Constitution, but also, perpetuate a mistrust in the rule of law. The current conditions at the Johannesburg High Court and vicinity, are simply abominable and possibly even put the administration of justice in very grave danger of collapse.
The SAAA deems any crime of this nature unacceptable and challenge the relevant law enforcement agencies to act swiftly in bringing the perpetrator(s) to justice. The SAAA disapprove of crime in any form whatsoever and reiterate that our democracy will only survive if a zero-tolerance towards crime is demonstrated and the law upheld. The mere fact that this incident occurred in broad daylight, right in front of the High Court building where one would expect respect for the law and in the apparent vicinity of law enforcement officers, does little to enhance the proper functioning and efficiency of the Courts. The SAAA wants to make its voice heard loudly and clearly in this regard.
The SAAA and its members will provide co-operation and support to the Chief Justice, the Judge President and all other stakeholders in establishing a safe environment for members of the public and also law practitioners who utilize the Courts every day. The SAAA requires that appropriate urgent steps be taken to ensure a remedy to the problems identified. The SAAA confirms its commitment and obligation to root out crime, which has dire consequences to the reputation of the country. The Association will continue to campaign against criminal elements both in and outside our borders and focus its resources to enhance ethical norms and to promote a service-orientated society that define integrity and uphold human life and dignity. The SAAA will not hesitate to sound an alarm and raise its concerns in order to monitor the effectiveness of the judicial system in the most fundamental way.