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In a recent poll, most adult South Africans doubted their courts of law, 25 years since the adoption of the constitution of the republic, was finalised. “We the people,” sings the text’s preamble, the sparkling aspirations of which are dimmed with each failure since then.

A recent survey by Afrobarometer, published last week, shows South Africans’ trust in institutions and public representatives is extraordinary low. Respondents ranked their trust in the defence force above that of courts, with parliament several rungs below. According to the data, 43% of the participants responded “somewhat” or a “lot” when asked how much they trusted courts of law, or whether they had not heard enough about them to say...

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