NEWS & ANALYSIS

Hands off the judiciary – CASAC

Unsubstantiated allegations against unnamed members of judiciary both devious and despicable

Hands off the judiciary

22 February 2021

Recent attacks on the integrity and legitimacy of the judiciary strike at the heart of the constitutional order. As such, they go to the core of CASAC's original founding mandate which is to promote and secure the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law. The courts are the ultimate guardians of our constitutional democracy.

Said CASAC Executive Secretary, Lawson Naidoo:

"The unsubstantiated allegations against unnamed members of the judiciary are both devious and despicable. Not a shred of evidence has been produced to justify the accusations, which are clearly in service of narrow political agendas. Straight out of the Trumpian play-book of fake news, they are designed to distract from the processes of our courts and the Zondo Commission of Inquiry which seek to hold public officials to account."

CASAC condemns the attacks on the integrity of the judiciary and demands that the allegations be withdrawn immediately, failing which action must be taken against the individuals by their respective political parties. It is unconscionable for judges to be disparaged in pursuit of factional and party political battles. If there is any tangible evidence of wrongdoing by members of the judiciary these should be brought before the Judicial Service Commission as a matter of urgency

In terms of the specific evidence that was adduced at the Zondo Commission suggesting that a judge or small number of judges may have been the target of illegal bribes via the South African Security Services/Intelligence agency, CASAC asks that the Commission prioritise the finalization of the evidence in this matter, so that the truth can be secured as a matter of urgency. "Otherwise rumours will continue to circulate, providing fertile ground for fake news to prosper", added Naidoo.

We believe that the Constitution is strong and will prevail, once again, as it has done in recent years. We also believe that the great majority of South Africans recognize the attacks for what they are — scurrilous and outrageous attempts to attack the foundations of the Constitution for narrow personal and political interests. These attempts to evade accountability by seeking to deflect from the real issues will not succeed.

Issued by Lawson Naidoo on behalf of Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution, 22 February 2021