Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #137) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #137)
Transcript: difficult by the policy of the present government which has since 1948 sought to tamper with the independence of the judiciary by packing the courts with Afrikaner judges and passing numerous laws which have cut down the powers of the judiciary and subordinated it to the executive in several respects. Even so South Africa has produced great judges who have tried to assert the independence of the courts and to resist attempts to reduce them to agents of the Nationalist Party. A clear example of this was the decision of the appellate Division where the court defied the government's threats and declared the Separate Representation of Voters Act null and void after the Minister of Bantu Affairs, Verwoerd, had publicly announced that parliament would reverse the decision if the courts decided against the government. The case illustrates the independence of the judiciary even though all the judges who heard the appeal were originally appointed by a UP government and their decision upheld the argument of the UP. In another case where Harold Wolpe made an urgent application to prevent the police from attending a particular meeting Judge Blackwell sharply told the Chief of the Security Police of Witswatersrand: "This country is not a police state yet!"
The judgement of Judge Ramsbottom in the case of the Law Society against me in which he upheld my inherent right to fight for my political beliefs was in line with this great principle. In dismissing the application he took the unusual step of depriving the Law Society of their costs, a clear indication of his disapproval of the attempt to interfere with the liberty of the citizen. It was inspiring to receive the services of Liberal lawyers who were in the forefront of the struggle to defend the rule of law and civil liberties. The case was ably defended by Advocate Walter Pollack
Extent and Medium: 1 page