Who judges the judges?

The judiciary and the media in SA present a serious conundrum for our young democracy – the institutions are deemed incorruptible and insulated from corruption and error of judgment. 

But the presentation before the judges by this individual (see video) reveals what could be termed one of the biggest fears in the project of entrenching democratic rule, that is a corrupt judiciary.

The bogeyman of South African politics Jacob Zuma raised this matter before but he was bullied as usual. He reasoned in 2018 that the state is composed of three branches, the executive, parliament and the judiciary. Zuma went on to ask: ‘There is no state that is captured, the judiciary is not captured, Parliament is not captured. So where is the state capture?’

Mainstream media has used the phrases ‘state capture’ and ‘corruption’ throughout the Zuma presidency and beyond. But it rarely refers to the going-ons in the judiciary. 

Zuma added, ‘There is no state capture in [South Africa] SA, there are people who did things to others, but there is no such thing called state capture. Let us not swallow everything that is given to us.’

Perhaps the judiciary also deserves its own commission of enquiry because it can’t be a referee and a player all at once. 

Of course, this proposal would be vehemently opposed seeing that there are way too many vested interests that the judiciary possibly protects or advances. 

On the side of the Fourth Estate, journalist Piet Rampedi has also called for the establishment of enquiry to investigate media capture in South Africa. Rampedi’s insistence for “fair and balanced reporting to society” has been treated with disgust by sections of society. 

Rampedi and other journalists including Mzilikazi wa Afrika and Steve Motale are more like fugitives in their own country. Their colleagues in the media regard them as black sheep in the family. Their pursuit of fairness and justice is opposed from all corners. 

What would then make one to believe that there is any chance of overhauling the judicial system in South Africa which continues to stray with every judgment made? 

People like Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng appear to be sailing against strong winds of the Atlantic. And, some people cannot wait for his term to come to an end. If there was a way, NGOs would be calling for his removal via parliament as they are doing with the current public protector. 

One has to imagine the kind of damage the judiciary is causing in the delivery of justice at its present form. If indeed the judiciary is corrupt and also under a spell of a strong cabal, as it is suggested, there is no hope for social justice for ordinary people. 

There are claims that apartheid remnants are still quite strong in our courts even after 25 years: the culture and laws that sustained oppression of the black majority are said to well and alive. 

The most unfortunate part in all of this is that the big agenda appeared to target the prosecutions team of Shaun Abrahams, Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi until they were exited from their positions. 

And before them, Justice John Hlophe was subjected to worst attacks ever seen against a sitting judge. He somehow survived the onslaught. 

But what is more concerning is the proposed privatisation of the justice through means such as private funding and private prosecutions. This means that any hope of seeing a judicial bench that is at the right FM frequency as the present dispensation will never be realised. 

The alleged corruption in the South African judiciary will collapse the country faster than anyone can ever imagine. Brazil is now a shadow of former self after the judiciary was allowed to overreach and to carry out dirty political agendas.  

Who will save us?

By Siyabonga P. Hadebe 

Image: luoman/Getty Images

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Uownit-SA is an online publication focused on collecting and publishing valuable and informed opinions from all the people of South Africa, published on the 15th of every month. Send us your views to contributions@uownit-sa.co.za.

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