Hooo-Hooo Hooo-Hooo Volume 11 Nr 4 - Page 6

their work properly and providing a forum where the representatives of the people can publicly debate issues. The National Council of Provinces is also involved in the law-making process and provides a forum for debate on issues affecting the provinces. The Judiciary (Courts): The judiciary comprises the courts. The head of the Constitutional Court is also the Chief Justice of South Africa. Organs of state such as Parliament and the executive must help and protect the courts to ensure their independence, impartiality, dignity, accessibility and effectiveness. The judiciary is an independent branch of the government and interprets the law. What is a law? Law is a system of rules, enforced through a set of institutions to regulate human conduct. There are various laws such as contract law, property law, criminal law, constitutional law and administrative law. Constitutional law provides a framework to create the law, to protect human rights and to choose political representatives. How law is made Parliament is the national legislature (law- making body) of South Africa. One of its primary functions is to pass new laws, to amend existing laws, and to repeal or abolish (cancel) old laws. This role is guided by the Constitution, which governs and applies to all law and conduct within South Africa. Parliament must fulfil all is constitutional obligations. For example, it must, when making law, facilitate public involvement in its law-making processes. Parliament has a wide discretion of how this must take place. Parliament is the only body that can make statutory law and therefore is the only body that can amend a mistake or error in a law. The executive cannot do this task as its function is not to make laws but to carry out the law according to the doctrine of separation of powers. SAVA’s case is about fixing an error created by Parliament SAVA’s concern is straightforward. This case is not about a conflict between veterinarians and the government (Executive) but a mistake that came about while making a law. During the law-making process, a technical committee of Parliament, the Portfolio Committee on Health made an error when making a law affecting the veterinary profession. The Committee introduced the word “veterinarian” in a section of the Medicines and Related Substances Amendment Bill-a Bill is a draft version of a law-which resulted in the requirement that veterinarians must be licenced to compound and dispense medicines for animals in their care. The Parliamentary Committee caused this mistake by ignoring the duty to talk about the amendment with the people governed by the change, amongst others, the veterinarians. This is not allowed as Parliament must give the public affected by a law an opportunity to take part in the law-making process before it is passed. It does this by calling on the public to give written representations to the lawmaker and invites the public to present their views at an open meeting. This constitutional duty means that Parliament must engage with the public during its legislative (law-making) processes. Failure to do so can be fatal to the eventual law approved by the lawmaker because the ConCourt can declare the law invalid where Parliament has failed to meet its constitutional obligation to facilitate public involvement in its processes. What can the ConCourt do? Only the ConCourt can establish whether Parliament has complied with this duty to consult with the public when making a law and that is the reason why SAVA has approached the ConCourt directly for help. SAVA’s court papers ask the ConCourt to review the