Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng requested the meeting with Zuma over what he called “unfounded criticism” of the Judiciary, which delegitimises and undermines the courts of law.
Senior ANC leaders were responsible for the utterances – over Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s exit from South Africa following a high court ruling which instructed that he remain here.
Bashir, as we all know, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity for genocide.
“The President wishes to reassert his own commitment and that of the Executive to the independence of the Judiciary and its role as the final arbiter in all disputes in society, as well as to the further strengthening of the existing good working relations between the two arms of the State.
Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa then said yesterday: “What we will be relaying to the judges, without attacking the independence of the judiciary, is the feeling, the views, the collective views of ordinary people on the ground. There is no Constitutional crisis.
“What exists is a robust discussion and engagement that we want to have with the Judges. I will say to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng – Chief Justice we welcome your call.”
Now, with all that being said, why is it that these attacks on the Judiciary occur so frequently? It is because it is easier to do, instead of looking into the underlying root issues which need unearthing.
In short, it is the easy way out than having to answer for one’s actions. One may think that there is an element of bravery when words are used to undermine this system – but it is cowardly and spineless.
So when Mogoeng asked for a meeting, what he did was the complete opposite. He wants to tackle this it seems.
Constitutional Law expert Pierre De Vos wrote two years ago on the Judicial Service Commission and why “it’s not all bad”.
He wrote: “The South African system of appointing judges recognises that there is a need to avoid the appointment of judges who would destroy the legitimacy of the judiciary by blatantly making decisions purely based on their party political commitments, while also accepting the reality that the personal judicial philosophy of a judge may well influence the individual judge’s interpretation and application of the Constitution.”
Meanwhile, the Western Cape High Court has ruled garnishee orders to take from the salaries of a group of Stellenbosch low income earners was unlawful. This included farmworkers, security guards and cleaners.