Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has denied allegations that the judiciary is captured, as claimed by EFF leader Julius Malema last week after Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane lost a case against President Cyril Ramaphosa.
In an interview on eNCA on Wednesday morning, Mogoeng criticised Malema’s remarks and affirmed that the judiciary is independent. He urged that in order to fight corruption, South Africa would have to position itself.
“It must never matter who happens to be the president or who happens to occupy whatever position, when it comes to cases that come before courts,” Mogoeng said.
During a Women’s Day celebration in the Northern Cape last week, Malema said the judges in South African courts were “traumatised old people” because they buckle under political pressure. He also said these judges were “incompetent” and should be removed.
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“We want women judges that are not scared of male politicians and that are not threatened by male white Afrikaner lawyers before them. We want judges that are going to say the judiciary must be independent and not be influenced by who is the president,” Malema said.
“I can tell you now, both in the upper judiciary and in the magistracy I know of none of them who is traumatised and who fits any description that could suggest that they are less than fit for the responsibilities they have been appointed to shoulder,” said Mogoeng on Wednesday.
The Public Protector had accused the president of failing to uphold the Constitution by not implementing her remedial action. Ramaphosa accused her of not understanding her constitutional duties.
This week, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane lost her court battle against Ramaphosa in which she was joined by the EFF.
“If judges judge according to who appears before them, they must know we will be left with no options but to take up arms because there is no neutrality in South Africa,” Malema said on Friday.
“The judges can save [the] democracy of South Africa by not being biased. A bias judiciary will force us into the bush, and we don’t want to go into the bush.”