Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on Friday warned against the possible erosion of law in South Africa.
“There may be a perception that the rule of law is eroded, so if that perception grows, that role of the judges is threatened and it’s not good for democracy,” Madonsela said in Johannesburg.
She was speaking amid “repeated and unfounded criticism” of the judiciary by politicians affiliated with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and its alliance partners.
Earlier this week Chief Justice Mogoeng requested a meeting with President Jacob Zuma to discuss the matter. Mogoeng said he also wants to discuss what would happen if court orders are not obeyed by the government.
Mogoeng has been accused of allegedly raping a sex worker and three Constitutional Court justices have been accused of being CIA operatives.
Recently, the Chief Justice launched a veiled attack on the executive, accusing it of interfering in the judiciary’s independence.
Madonsela came to the defence of the judiciary, saying the executive should not be allowed to become more powerful than the judiciary — the other arm of the state.
However, she pointed to the fact that the executive has become too powerful.
“One judge was criticised for having said the executive is super powerful. Then it becomes important that Parliament works with us to clip, so to speak, the wings of the executive.”
On Thursday, Zuma reasserted his commitment to the independence of the judiciary.
The judiciary has 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 – – the executive and the judiciary, Zuma said through his office.
The Presidency has noted the request of the Chief Justice to meet with Zuma to discuss the concerns of the judiciary pertaining to relations between the executive and the judiciary, presidential spokesperson Harold Maloka said.
Zuma will attend to the matter as soon as he returns from the BRICS Summit in Ufa, Russia, Maloka said. Enditem