The Presidential Years

Mandela: You see Arthur is now the President of the Constitutional Court. And Parliament gave me some powers to issue some proclamations about the elections in the Western Cape, which I did. Hernus [Kriel] took me to the Constitutional Court and I hoped against hope that my former lawyer, Arthur Chaskalson would say, ‘Man this is my client, I must pass a judgement which will not humiliate him’. But he passed judgement and he said, ‘The President had no right to issue these proclamations.' But hardly 30 minutes after hearing of the judgement, I called a press conference and I said, ‘this was a very difficult case. It’s very good that they gave judgement against the president of the country because that shows that all of us in South African law now we are equal and I welcome that.’

Joffe: I complained to Arthur that he’d given that judgement.

Mandela [LAUGHS]: No, that’s very good. They took this tradition from the British judicial system the equality of everybody before the law.