Leave courts alone: Kathrada

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iol news pic Ahmed Kathrada

INLSA

Mr Ahmed Kathrada at his home in Johannesburg. Struggle veteran Ahmed Kathrada and Nobel Laureate JM Coetzee have received honorary doctorates from Wits University. File image by: Refilwe Modise

Johannesburg - Hints reflecting a desire to curb the powers of the courts - including the Constitutional Court - were disturbing, struggle veteran Ahmed Kathrada said on Tuesday.

“Interestingly, these reactions have contributed towards the birth of new terminology... 'untransformed', 'neo-liberals', 'coconuts' and the newest is 'clever blacks'.”

Kathrada bemoaned what he described as the constant repetition of such terms.

He was speaking at the December graduation ceremony of the Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, where a honourary doctorate was conferred on him.

Kathrada, 83, paid tribute to the late Constitutional Court Judge Arthur Chaskalson and urged the country's political leaders to uphold and protect the Constitution.

“Since its establishment, the court has jealously guarded the Constitution without fear or favour,” Kathrada said.

“Some of its judgments have been criticised by individuals in government and ruling party.”

Kathrada became involved in the struggle for liberation at the age of 12 when he joined the Young Communist League in 1941.

He was jailed alongside former president Nelson Mandela and other following the Rivonia trial, and spent 26 years in prison, 18 of which were on Robben Island. - Sapa


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