By Zuko Komisa
Michelle Le Roux recently joined Breakfast with David to talk about her book, Lawfare: an exploration of politics and the courts, co-written with High Court Judge, Dennis Davis.
Dennis Davis who is Judge President of the Competition Appeal Court and Professor of Law at UCT and Michelle Le Roux are members of the Johannesburg and New York Bars.
[WATCH] Michelle le Roux talks about what they were trying to do when putting this book together. Le Roux also goes into details of how the cases used where chosen #BreakfastWithDavid pic.twitter.com/EpP7TyPKRk
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The book explores the role the courts have played in the politics in South Africa over the last 50 years, resolving conflicts that have influenced the trajectory of the country.
Listen to the full conversation here:
Michelle Le Roux spoke about the intention behind writing the book, saying that it was aimed at diagnosing the direction law has taken in South Africa.
“What we’re trying to do with the book is to make a point about the role of law in our history. The book tries to explain how the law works, how the law gets used and abused. We picked cases that show a particular feature of the law, a particular characteristic.”
Le Roux explained that the cases were chosen to show how law shapes our society, as well as show the contrast between apartheid laws and the new constitutional laws.
At the core of the book is the argument 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 of a flood of political cases. There are various cases of interest in the book such as the Rivonia Trail. Le Roux also touched on the process taken during the trial, and how the prosecution of high profile political figures was redefined.
“We resort to this argument anytime a high profile politician gets caught out, we say ‘it’s politics’, but sometimes it’s good old fashion breaking the law and needs to be prosecuted. It’s keeping in mind when is it truly the distortion of the criminal justice system for political purposes and we would say that that is what the Rivonia Trial shows us. It’s a classic political trial. “