- Retired Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has unwittingly been dragged into the unfolding drama involving Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu
- A video in which Mogoeng warns against an attempt to capture the judicial system is making the rounds on social media
- Sisulu has received harsh criticism from various quarters over her controversial opinion piece in which she "attacks" the judiciary
- South Africans from all walks of life gave their two cents' worth on the current political storm, with many also taking digs at the judiciary
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JOHANNESBURG - A heated debate has emerged in the last few days, more so on social media, over Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu's comments which allegedly "attacked" the country's constitution.
In the background of the upheaval is a video of the former Chief Justice of South Africa, Mogoeng Mogoeng, giving a pre-warning against an attempt to see the judiciary captured. The material is doing the rounds online as public reaction mounts over the minister's controversial opinion piece.
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According to TimesLIVE, the 2019 clip was taken at the 17th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture hosted at the University of Johannesburg's Soweto campus. There, Mogoeng spoke against those trying to capture the judiciary. He spoke at length about the ramifications of a captured judicial system.
"There's an attempt to capture the judiciary. Should this happen, the judiciary will lose the ability to use the constitution as an instrument of transformation. A captured judicial member will get advance information when so and so are involved," Mogoeng highlighted.
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"In the same way, depending on the issues, a decision will be known in advance, [being] so and so can't lose. Stay vigilant and be assertive in making anybody uncomfortable who seeks to establish a moldable judicial system."
Civil society groups band together to criticise Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu for attack on the Judiciary
In the opinion piece, Sisulu criticised the judiciary for upholding a law that is opposed to the African value system. She mentioned that the poor bear the brunt of the current status quo, even referring to judges as Africans who've been colonised.
Comments are baseless and insulting
"An African person who is more destructive than any other one today is he who is mentally colonised. Once such person or persons are given leadership positions or are made interpreters of the law, they become worse than past oppressors," wrote Sisulu.
Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo served up a scathing response to the comments on Wednesday, saying they were senseless accusations that not only insulted the justices of the Constitutional Court and the country's other judges but all African judges.
He highlighted that inaction by President Cyril Ramaphosa against Sisulu would amount to disappointment, adding that the judiciary cannot instruct the country's first citizen on what to do amid a situation like the one currently in the spotlight, according to eNCA.
In light of the dramatic scenes currently playing out, locals from all walks of life have had their fair share of reactions. Varying views were shared, touching on a wide range of uniquely South African political topics of interest, including, and certainly not surprisingly, the former Jacob Zuma-led ANC administration.
South African opinions flood social media
Briefly News surfed the waves as they crashed on social media to bring readers all the interesting reactions to the post.
@Mashishi Kenny wrote:
"We still need to know why senior judges were overlooked when this Mogoeng was appointed. Certainly, there's a catch or Zuma s mission failed."
@George Smith said:
"The judiciary has lost independence and speak for a master.... Has become an institution to avoid."
@Quintondennisjr Boaz added:
"Jacob Zuma's government had a single intention which was to CAPTURE everything except DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION!!!!"
Zondo calls Sisulu to order over "senseless" comments
Earlier, Briefly News reported that Sisulu is catching strays from on high as Zondo composed a measured yet scathing response to the recent comments she made about judges and the Constitution.
Zondo is calling for swift action to be taken against the former Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation for trashing the judiciary. In a press briefing on Wednesday, the former chairperson of the Zondo Commission insisted that Sisulu had hurled baseless insults at the entire Constitution.
TimesLIVE reported that in his response, Zondo voiced that the article was filled with senseless accusations that not only insulted the justices of the Constitutional Court, judges of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) and those in the high courts, but all African judges.
Zondo added that the judiciary does not maintain that it could not be criticised. Instead, the Acting Chief Justice said Sisulu's article could not be construed as criticism due to its tone and the assertions it carries.
"It's imperative that we draw the line on conduct that is acceptable and behaviour to the contrary. Criticism should have a proper basis. We've been insulted for nothing other than doing our job," said Zondo.
Source: Briefly News