June 30 2011 at 11:20

Local elections last month were a success for our democracy but they had an unforeseen spin-off that could prove disastrous for the rule of law in the southern African region.

President Jacob Zuma and Minister of Justice Jeff Radebe, involved in election work at home, were unable to attend several SADC meetings during this time. In their absence, SADC made unprecedented decisions about the future of the judicial body set up to deal with regional litigation on human rights and other issues: SADC leaders effectively dismantled this court and sacked the judges who had served on it.

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