There might be other objectives, hon Chair. Judicial authority vests in the courts, section 165 of the Constitution sets out guarantees for the independence of the judiciary, providing inter alia, that courts are independent and subject only to the Constitution and the law which they must apply impartially, without fear, favour or prejudice.
The Constitution also clearly states that organs of state, through legislative and other means, must assist and protect the courts to ensure that independence, impartiality, dignity and accessibility of effectiveness of the courts. In Van Rooyen and State, the courts emphasised the importance of judicial independence and drew a distinction between the institutional and individual independence.
Referring to the test for judicial independence, the court held that from the objective standpoint of a reasonable and informed person, a court will be perceived as enjoying the essential conditions of independence. The misconduct charges relate to allegations levelled against Mr Nair, that he allegedly asked for or accepted or received special favours or benefits from Bosasa, which may unduly influence him in execution of his judicial duties, which may create an impression or perception as being intended to influence him in the performance of his duties. In line with the audi alteram partem rule of natural justice, Mr Nair was invited to show course why he should not provisionally be suspended from office. He duly responded. Having considered Mr Nair's representation, the commission resolved that Mr Nair should be provisionally suspended. Judicial officers must be held to the highest standard of scrutiny and their conduct must at all times be beyond reproach and be of conduct befitting that office.
Taking cognisance of the seriousness of the allegations levelled against Mr Nair and the importance of the image of our judiciary, the judicial officers and the rule of law, it is in the interest of the ANC as the governing party and as a leader of society to confirm this provisional suspension. The ANC has always been committed to an independent judiciary and to strengthen judicial system.
Our national conference resolutions have reaffirmed this commitment. It is for this reason that we are also making the point to those that are still fiddling: We are sending a very strong message as the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services that whilst the Zondo Commission is in place, we are not going to wait for its outcomes. We are going to act. This is what we are doing today. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Question put: That the Report of the Committee be adopted, including the recommendation that the provisional suspension from office of Chief Magistrate Mr D Nair be confirmed.
Question agreed to.