President Cyril Ramaphosa has made it abundantly clear that despite their allegiance to the ruling party, he and Jacob Zuma don’t see eye-to-eye.
Cyril Ramaphosa challenges Jacob Zuma
In a statement published in his weekly Monday mailers, the president noted with concern, the recent attacks on South Africa’s judiciary by the former president and his cohorts.
“Of particular concern are recent utterances directed at the judiciary, in which some judges are accused, without any evidence, of pursuing interests other than the cause of justice. Judges have been accused of political agendas and some have even been accused of accepting bribes,” Ramaphosa wrote.
In a letter drafted by Zuma on the day he skipped out on his State Capture Inquiry appearance, the former president had made it clear that he would not participate in a ‘political agenda’ orchestrated by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and Gauteng judge president Dunstan Mlambo.
The former president was clear in his accusations, claiming that some judges had sold their souls and completely ignored their oath of office to pander to key political figures at the forefront of his ‘character’ assassination campaign.
But, for Ramaphosa, such claims that are not accompanied by concrete proof, are “deeply disturbing.”
“Without the presentation of evidence to support these claims, and unless referred to the relevant authorities, all that such allegations do is to undermine the judiciary and the important function that it performs in our democracy,” Ramaphosa said.
‘Dodgy’ judges could be probed
Fortunately, the president said, the Judicial Service Commission exists for these situations. While no formal announcement of an investigation has been made, Ramaphosa noted that the commission has the powers to work in conjunction with Parliament in weeding out corrupt judges, if there is irrefutable proof that supports these accusations.
“Anyone who has evidence of any wrongdoing by any judge should make use of the avenues provided in our Constitution and in our law to ensure that appropriate action is taken,” he said.
Ramaphosa warned Zuma and his cohorts to tread carefully in their efforts to heighten mistrust in the judiciary. Continuing down this path may lead to “possible consequences of their utterances.”
“We should therefore not take attacks on the judiciary lightly. Such attacks shake the very foundations of our constitutional democracy. Unless supported by evidence, such claims undermine confidence in our courts, and weaken our Constitutional order,” the president wrote.
Zuma, on the other hand, has kept a low profile since the dramatic events that unfolded last week. It has become apparent that he may never return to the State Capture Inquiry to complete his evidence.
However, the former president is expected in court soon, where he will learn of the outcome of his appeal to have Zondo recused from overseeing the commission.