December 11, 2018
The National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL) condemns the attack on a Johannesburg Advocate at the Johannesburg High Court.
It was reported in the media that a female advocate was attacked by a mob of members of the political party Black First Land First(BLF). It was reported that the advocate was cornered and then beaten in an elevator including being punched in the face. She managed to escape her attackers when the elevator stopped. The mob then went to court looking for her.
We expect that this violent, criminal incident will be thoroughly investigated by the authorities. The perpetrators must face the full might of the law.
The courthouse and courtroom represents the ideals of justice, democracy and the rule of law especially in our constitutional dispensation. The attack on the advocate is therefore also an attack on the very principles of justice, democracy and the rule of law.
In a democracy the rule of law protects the rights of citizens, maintains order and limits the political exercise of power. The rule of law is critical for democracy rooted in equal rights and accountability to flourish. The rule of law is dispensed through our judiciary housed in our courthouses.
Threats and violence against lawyers, legal professionals and members of the judiciary also represent a significant threat to the rule of law.
This attack cannot be viewed as a single incident or in a vacuum. There has been an increase in the number of violent incidents in our courts.