(2002) JLP 47: 113-135
GOVERNABILITY AND FORMS OF POPULAR JUSTICE IN THE NEW SOUTH AFRICA AND MOZAMBIQUE: COMMUNITY COURTS AND VIGILANTISM
Jokin Alberdi Bidaguren and Daniel Nina Estrella
This paper analyses some of the problems of governability in the administration of justice in Mozambique and South Africa by exploring various experiences of popular justice which continue to exist in the new democratic contexts of these countries.
It is argued that the weakness of the South African and Mozambican states is reflected in their judicial systems. In spite of democratic reform, the vast majority of the citizens of these countries, particularly the less well off, have no guaranteed access to justice. This weakness of the state in guaranteeing order and security has long since prompted responses from society. In the current context of representative democracy, a distinction may be drawn between:
responses which directly call in question the legitimacy of the new state, such as PAGAD (People Against Gangsterism and Drugs), organised crime, vigilante groups and other ways of taking justice into one’s own hands, and which contribute to the breakdown of society and of the state; and
responses which accept the new constitutional framework and respect human rights, such as some community courts, religious courts, traditional authorities and legal assistance projects for conflict resolution set up by various NGOs.