The rule of law is not primarily what most people think.  It is not about whether ‘the law’ is upheld but, instead, consists of three principal components:

  • Separation of powers;
  • Lack of discretionary power; and
  • Objective certainty.

These are the points made by Leon Louw, Executive Director of the FMF, in a presentation New FMF video: Leon Louw on the RULE OF LAW  on 6 May 2015.He went on to point out:
  • Rights and obligation should be determined by unambiguous and objective law rather than by ‘the rule of man’. Despite SA’s constitution’s founding value being the “supremacy of the constitution and rule of law”, there has been a systematic dilution and erosion of the rule of law to virtually the vanishing point.  An extreme example is the Financial Services Board which has the ability to legislate without reference to the Legislature, to implement, police and enforce its laws, and to adjudicate disputes and impose fines which it keeps.  A ‘state within a state’, performing all three functions of government under one roof.

  • Quasi courts proliferate and virtually every new act of parliament delegates extensive law making and judicial powers to the executive. Related principles of good law, such as the presumption of innocence, due process, and the absence of retro-activity, are also vanishing like the morning mist.  Rights and obligations should be objectively, clearly and unambiguously defined in law so that all reasonable people can know in advance whether what they are doing is lawful.

  • A climate of appreciation of what the rule of law is and its importance has to be re-established so that it again becomes the basis on which laws and policies are made.

To watch the video click here: