Constitutional Court honours Chaskalson

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pretoria - The Constitutional Court on Thursday held a special session to pay tribute to the former Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson, who died three months ago.

Chaskalson was the first president of the Constitutional Court to be appointed by former President Nelson Mandela in 1994.

Many have described him as a champion of human rights, a balanced thinker, an accomplished jurist as well as a gallant fighter for freedom and human dignity.

The Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Andries Nel, said Chaskalson’s dream of making justice accessible to the majority would be realised.

“The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development continues - through its work to promote access to justice through the establishment of new courts, the upgrading of existing courts and through working with the judiciary, the legal profession and all stakeholders - to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of both our criminal and civil justice systems,” Nel told the special session.

Nel, who also retold Chaskalson’s views on the right to life, said rape, sexual and gender-based violence, including so-called “corrective rape”, were a direct assault on the rights to life and dignity and all of us have a duty to combat them.

He said his department would accelerate the establishment of Sexual Offences Courts.

“It is envisaged that 58 courts will be fully functional during the first six months of the new financial year. The Minister will be making further announcements in this regard in the near future.” –