Constitutional Court caseload has more than tripled in the 22 years since its establishment. Good or bad?

An article by William Gumede in the Sunday Times of yesterday titled “Zuma has been so bad, he has in some ways actually been good” and the recently reported incident where Chief Justice Mogoeng apparently displayed public displeasure at his fellow Constitutional Court judges’ majority ruling related to National Assembly’s failure to hold President Zuma to account on the Nkandla saga jolted me into action on an idea I have always wanted to bring to life.

The idea

Based on my predisposition for always seeing the silver lining, my view is that South African law must be having among the richest caseload in the world – thanks mainly to our litigious political parties, the business sector, labour and the civil society groups. 

To test this view, I analysed the country’s Constitutional Court caseload.

Constitutional Court caseload in last 22 years

Using the Southern African Legal Information Institute as my source, I painstakingly compiled a spreadsheet of cases that were decided by the Constitutional Court in the last 22 years since it was established in 1995. 

Here are the results:

I added the Constitutional Court’s 6 milestones over the 22 year period for colour.

As can be seen in the graph above, there has been an increase of more than triple the number of decisions by the Court since 1995.

The Court has also been busiest mostly during March, June, October and December months over the 22 years, as per the graph below:

eNitiate | South African Costitutional Court Decisions | Lowest and Highest Months in Last 22 Years | Jan 2018

When the rest of us wind down so we can go on holiday in December, the Constitutional Court goes into overdrive to end the year on a high. 

2017 was no excpetion with a landmark ruling against President Zuma’s review request related to some aspects of the former Public Protector’s State of Capture Report. 

The ruling was delivered on the 13th of December. 

As I publish this blog, reverberations from this ruling are still being felt throughout the country.

If the saying practice makes perfect holds true, then South Africa must be having some of the best legal minds in the world right now.

Do you agree that South Africa must be ranking among the top countries in the world when it comes to rich caseload?

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