One of the key functions of civil government is to protect society. This is a function that the present government has not fulfilled.
Levels of crime are at their highest. This has given rise to a state of virtual anarchy with human life losing value daily, as men, women and children are killed for a couple of Rand or an item of jewellery.
The state, bearing the traditional sword of justice, must protect all of its citizens demonstrating that crime does not pay.
Basic human rights such as the right not to be tortured to obtain information, the right to a fair and speedy trial; to be properly informed of all charges; to be prepared for trial and to be legally represented are afforded to all citizens.
Criminal elements however, should fear the wrath of society as demonstrated by the state, as this is the most effective way to combat crime.
Although our legal system is based on principles of good common sense, our courts remain largely inaccessible, due to their relative sophistication.
The ACDP is in agreement with, and will promote recent strides toward making the legal system more understandable and therefore more accessible to ordinary people. Equality before the law is a prerequisite for a just society, however in practise people are still discriminated against due to a personal lack of education and sophistication. The ACDP is committed to addressing this by re-examining structures that are limiting accessibility to justice and recourse to the law by the majority of South African citizens.
Some of the areas that will be considered are the following:
- The monopoly of the Law Society, which dictates fees and limits admission to the profession, will be examined, as it results in justice and recourse to the law being inaccessible for the majority of South African citizens.
- Graduates must be able to satisfy the requirements for becoming attorneys through other relevant experience, as an alternative to articles.
- Other positions requiring legal qualifications, especially that of public prosecutor, must be elevated to worthwhile career options with regard to conditions of service, working conditions, salaries and career opportunities.
- Judges are currently chosen from the ranks of senior advocates, and magistrates are chosen from the ranks of senior public prosecutors. The ACDP believes that judges should also be appointed from the ranks of experienced magistrates.
- Management plans to simplify court calendars and procedures.
- Diversification of languages in printed material.
- Education programmes.
The ACDP is in agreement with the independent nature of the judiciary and does not advocate a jury system. However, in addition to the hierarchy of courts and the Constitutional Court, we believe a system of peer review should be established in the interest of justice, fairness and equity.
At its core, the justice system must be made accessible by having an adjudicating official presiding over everyday disputes.
The ACDP recognises that the traumatic history of non-transparency has to be addressed in the process of transformation of South African society.
The rules of natural law, which form the cornerstone of administrative justice, originated from sound biblical teaching and we support its retention as it is foundational to an ethic that exposes unfair and dishonest practices.
Detained, arrested, and accused persons
The ACDP believes it is wrong to give the impression that a criminal occupies a more favourable position, even constitutionally, than his victim.
Individual responsibility for action needs to be stressed. Any system that removes a sense of personal accountability and guilt from the criminal is bound to fail.
We oppose the situation where prisoners receive better food, medical treatment or other privileges, which are denied law-abiding citizens.
In Leviticus 24:12 the nearest approximation of a prison is cited as a temporary holding where subjects are awaiting a swift and sure trial and punishment.
Long term imprisonment escalates problems of overcrowding, prison violence, professional criminal training, the spread of AIDS and STDs.
The ACDP will seriously look at the feasibility of privatising minimum-security prisons.
The ACDP strongly supports the introduction of capital punishment for certain violent crimes (Numbers 35:30-33, Genesis 9:6, Exodus 20:3, Leviticus 24: 17 -22, Matthew 5:17, Romans 13 and Revelation 13:10).
We believe that crime will only be effectively controlled to the point of eradication once criminals face severe sanctions for the violent and criminal behaviour.
We disagree with the belief that criminals should have the same rights of law-abiding citizens. For example, criminals should not have the right to vote until they have paid their debt to society.
Sentencing must address PREVENTION, then RESTITUTION, then RETRIBUTION and REHABILITATION (Leviticus 6: 1-7,24:19-23).
The ACDP will therefore:
- Reinstate the death penalty;
- Scrap parole for serious crimes;
- Deny bail for serious crimes;
- Compel prisoners to work in order to pay for their board and lodging;
- Compel convicted criminals to make restitution to their victims; and
- Not permit special comforts to prisoners.