NATIONAL NEWS - Constitutional Court Justice Edwin Cameron has retired after 25 years as a judge.
He read his final judgment at South Africa’s apex court on Tuesday, 20 August. It related to claims from land tenant farmers, some of which date back to over 20 years.
The court ruled in favour of labour tenant farmers fighting for their claims to be processed by a “special master”. While the farmers welcomed a decision to this effect in the land claim’s court, it was opposed by the department of rural development.
According to the department, the land claims court’s decision to appoint a special master for the farmers constituted judicial overreach, something the apex court ruled was not the case in their judgment.
Cameron, passing down his final judgment, said courts must intervene to make sure land reform programs function as they should.
Following this, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng honoured Cameron, thanking him for his service at a special sitting at the ConCourt following the judgment.
“He was the first person to invite me [to] his chamber for lunch,” Mogoeng said.
Mogoeng praised Cameron for his courage in speaking out about his HIV status and fighting for access to antiretroviral medication for all South Africans.
“When HIV attracted stigma, he bravely stood up and disclosed his status. He could’ve chosen to mind his own business and not care about others but he is not that type of person. The lives of many people across the globe have been saved and things have changed,” Mogoeng said.
Mogoeng also said Cameron personified the values of non-racialism.
Cameron is openly gay and was one of the first public figures to disclose his HIV status in the early 1990s.
On Twitter, HIV/AIDS activist organisation the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) bid Cameron farewell.
“On 10 December 2018, TAC and its partners came to the Constitutional Court to thank it for its progressive ruling and support. Today we are here to bid farewell to one of TAC ‘s biggest supporters and friend Justice Edwin Cameron as he retires from the bench. RESPECT!”
Attorney Ziyanda Sibeko tweeted: “A legal giant and eagle bows out today and retires as one of the judges of the Constitutional Court. We will forever be indebted to you Justice Cameron for shaping the jurisprudence of our country and for being a champion of human rights!”