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lawfare

Category: Legal History
ISBN:   9781868429608
Publisher:  Jonathan Ball Publishers
On sale: April 2019
List price: R275
Format: Paperback
eBook ISBN
9781868429615 

Lawfare: Judging Politics in South Africa


Dennis Davis and Michelle Le Roux


What happens when South Africa’s tumultuous political life becomes entangled in the courts of law? Throughout the past 50 years, the courts have been a battleground for contesting political forces as more and more conflicts that were once fought in Parliament or in streets, or through strikes and media campaigns, find their way to the judiciary. Certainly, the legal system was used by both the apartheid state and its opponents. But it is in the post-apartheid era, and in particular under the rule of President Jacob Zuma, that we have witnessed a dramatic increase in ‘lawfare’: the migration of politics to the courts.

The authors show through a series of case studies how just about every aspect of political life ends up in court: the arms deal, the demise of the Scorpions, the Cabinet reshuffle, the expulsion of the EFF from Parliament, the nuclear procurement process, the Cape Town mayor – the list goes on and on.

This book offers a highly readable analysis of some of the most widely publicised and decisive instances of lawfare. It argues that while it is good that the judiciary is able to shoulder the burden of supporting democracy, it is showing signs of immense strain under the present deluge of political cases. Whether the courts will survive this strain undamaged remains to be seen.


Dennis Davis is Judge President of the Competition Appeal Court and Professor of Law at UCT. He presented the highly popular TV programme Judge for Yourself. Davis is a member of the Commission of Enquiry into Tax Structure of South Africa. Michelle Le Roux is a member of the Johannesburg and New York Bars, and Adjunct Professor at the University of Cape Town.

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