The public is now feeling the impact of the ongoing battle for seniority between Court of Appeal President Justice Michael Ramodibedi and Chief Justice Mahapela Lehohla.
This week the January session of the Court of Appeal was cancelled after the chief justice refused to release High Court judges.
The six cases that were on the roll will have to wait until April.
The litigants will remain in limbo for another three months despite having waited for months and spending huge sums of money to have their cases heard.
The Law Society is now planning to call for the resignation of the two judges.
Yesterday the society wrote to Prime Minister Tom Thabane, imploring him to advise the King to set up a commission to investigate the crisis in the judiciary.
The law society should have done that a long time ago when the battle between the two judges started.
Still it is not too late to start sounding alarm bells over the issue.
There is no doubt that the fight between the two men has now crippled the justice system of this country.
To stand and do nothing about it will be a great disservice to the people.
That is why we urge the coalition government to take the law society’s advice seriously.
We have a judiciary that has become dysfunctional because the two men who are supposed to run it have concerned themselves with trivial matters.
The clash between the two judges has nothing to do with substantial issues but personalities.
Innocent people are now suffering because of the personality clash between the two judges, the very people who are supposed to ensure that the judiciary is running smoothly.
It is time the executive intervenes to restore order.
But while the commission is being set up the government must order the two justices to start cooperating.
If they are unwilling to work together then they must be impeached or they must be forced to resign.
We also note with concern allegations that each of the men has handlers in the coalition government.
This, the allegations say, makes it difficult for the coalition government to effectively discipline the two men.
That is most unfortunate both for the government and the two judges.
Judges cannot publicly seek to protect their independence while privately actively working to ingratiate themselves with politicians.
Similarly, the government cannot ignore the crisis in the judiciary because its partners cannot agree on how to deal with the crisis.
In the end it is the people who suffer.
One of the fundamental roles of any government is to ensure justice for all.
Any impediments to the achievement of this goal must be removed.
If the two judges have ceased to work towards the attainment of that goal they must be relieved of their duties regardless of who their friends are in the coalition government.
The crisis in the judiciary has been there for years and its time we put a stop to it.
Already the battles between the two judges have brought the judiciary into disrepute.
The integrity of the judiciary and that of the two judges has been severely damaged.
It is therefore inconceivable that the two judges will be able to sort out the mess they created.
An intervention by the executive is therefore urgently required and justified.