SPEECH BY THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE KINGDOM OF SWAZILAND HIS LORDSHIP MR JUSTICE M.M. RAMODIBEDI DURING THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE FREEDOM TOASTER AT THE ROYAL SWAZI SUN HOTEL AT EZULWINI ON 31 MAY 2012 AT 10:30 AM.
The Honourable Judges of the Supreme Court. I recognise the presence of His Lordship Mr Justice Moore.
The Honourable Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
The Honourable Minister of Information, Communication and Technology.
The Honourable Judges of the High Court. I recognise the presence of His Lordship Mr Justice Hlophe.
The Honourable Acting Judge President Mr Justice Nkonyane and the Honourable Judges of the Industrial Court.
The Honourable Attorney General.
Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps.
The Honourable Members of the Judicial Service Commission.
The Principal Secretary, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
The Honourable Director of Public Prosecutions.
The Registrars of the Supreme Court, High Court and the Industrial Court.
Their Worships, Principal Magistrates.
The Master of the High Court.
The Judicial Commissioner.
The President of the Law Society.
The Legal Practitioners.
Ladies and Gentlemen;
It is my pleasure to welcome all of you to this gathering to witness the launch of the Freedom Toaster.
I am welcoming you in my capacity not only as Chief Justice but also as the Patron of SwaziLII. SwaziLII is a short form for Swaziland Legal Information Institute. It is part of the world wide family of Legal Information Institutes. It is a project that is sustained by donor funds and in our case it is funded by OSISA. Its core business is to enhance free public access to legal information in Swaziland through the electronic medium. The website for SwaziLII is found on www.swazilii.org. Presently on this website you can find the judgments of the Supreme Court, High Court, Industrial Court, some selected CMAC awards or rulings, Court Rolls and other information relating to the Courts’ business. It is hoped that very soon, with the co-operation of the various stakeholders, Government Gazettes, Bills and Acts of Parliament will be uploaded on this website. The SwaziLII website therefore is, without any doubt, an important site for judicial officers, legal practitioners law students and members of the public.
I have in the past repeatedly stated that books are the tools of trade of judicial officers and legal practitioners. The Judiciary is in dire need of books and law reports. The Honourable Attorney General said that the law reports are in utter shambles. I think it is worse than that. Until recently, the last law reports were published in 1995. We now have 2000 – 2005 Law Reports. Obviously we are still miles behind. I should like to take this opportunity once again to appeal to the international community to assist as a matter of urgency.
The Freedom Toaster that is being handed over to the SwaziLII Advisory Board is a milestone since the inception of the project. It will enable even those members of the public who do not have access to the internet to view the judgments of the Court. The legal practitioners and law students will henceforth have no excuse for not being aware of the most recent judgments of the Courts as I have been informed that the uploading takes place immediately after the judgment is delivered in open Court. It is hoped that in future this service will be linked to the Magistrates Courts throughout the country.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank SwaziLii and the relevant role players for the Freedom Toaster.
With these short remarks, I wish everyone present a wonderful time with us and afterwards you are warmly invited to have some refreshments.
I thank you
CHIEF JUSTICE OF SWAZILAND