Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has said that it was up to Parliament to deal with a remark by EFF leader Julius Malema that judges are “traumatised and old”, which he made during a Women’s Day commemoration in the Northern Cape last month.
“Mr Malema was deployed by another arm of the state Parliament and I believe that it is for Parliament to investigate whatever needs to be investigated. Thandi Modise, the Speaker of the National Assembly of which Mr Malema is a part, is a member of the Judicial Service Commission. I take it that she will do whatever is necessary to look into whatever needs to be looked into,” he said.
At the same rally Malema encouraged young girls to take their education seriously so that they could one day become judges, and “we get rid of incompetent judges who are threatened by politicians that appear before them”.
“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 SA. The judges can save democracy of SA by not being biased. A biased judiciary will force us into the bush, and we don’t want to go into the bush,” he said.
Soon thereafter the General Council of the Bar spoke out against Malema, condemning what it described as “personal attacks” on the judiciary.
Mogoeng told the media at a briefing in Midrand on Friday afternoon that no “derogatory remarks” against judges would be tolerated, whether they were male or female, “even if it were to be proven that in a particular judgment by a judge was wrong. All responsible South Africans have to do is to criticise that judgment based on their points of disagreement with it. It ought never to be open to any of us to mock judges, particularly female judges, in this era where people seem to think that it is open to them to treat women as they please,” he said.
The red berets’ spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, was also extensively criticised on social media for his comments about Judge Lettie Molopa-Sethosa.
He had said that she struggled to read through one of her judgments and did not inspire confidence in the judicial system.
Molopa-Sethosa delivered one of many damning judgments against Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane in a case against President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The EFF legally supported Mkhwebane in the matter.
Mogoeng urged anyone with information of a judge’s involvement in wrongdoing to come forward and report the matter.
“If you love this country and all of our people and you have credible evidence of capture and corruption, please share it with us and the public,” he said.
A list of judges accused of wrongdoing was doing the rounds on social media.
According to the posts the judges in question received money from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s “CR17 campaign” fund.
Another complaint was made by former Free State MEC Mxolisi Dukwana during his testimony at the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture.
He accused ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule of capturing judges sitting at the Free State High Court.
The chief justice said he had still not received solid proof to back these allegations.