The Archbishop of the Anglican Church in South Africa Thabo Makgoba has appealed to President Cyril Ramaphosa to speak out against attacks on the judiciary.
In a statement on Monday, Archbishop Makgoba said Ramaphosa should use his State of the National Address (SONA) on Thursday to this effect.
He stated, “Mr President, if judges are not respected in South Africa, we’re going to descend into chaos. When you speak on Thursday, you speak not as leader of the ANC, but as the leader of the nation.”
‘Attacks on judges have to stop’
The Archbishop added, “I appeal to you, out of respect for the Constitution and the rule of law, please send a clear signal that attacks on judges have to stop.
“It would give confidence to the judges that they can do their jobs without interference, and it would give confidence to all of us.
“It is critical to the future of our nation that we keep our hands off the judicial system. The courts must be respected.
“And we must give the NPA space to do their work in a thorough, unrushed way, so that we don’t have botched convictions which are overturned on appeal.”
Zuma’s warrant of arrest
Archbishop Makgoba was reacting to recent statements by various African National Congress (ANC) structures and members condemning the warrant of arrest issued against former President Jacob Zuma last week.
Judge Dhaya Pillay particularly came under fire for issuing the warrant, which she nevertheless stayed until 6 May when Zuma’s corruption trial resumes.
In an interview with eNCA last week, Zuma’s son Edward Zuma claimed Pillay is friends with Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and former minister Derek Hanekom.
In a statement, the ANC National Youth Task Team (NYTT) also said, “We have seen a long list of South African judges from the highest to the lowest courts of this country, accused of being in the pockets of the white monopoly capital.”
The ANCYL in the Free State accused the “captured” National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and “reactionary” judiciary of acting at the behest of “enemies of progress, the captains of white monopoly capital together with proxies amongst us.”
Former Minister Bathabile Dlamini slammed the warrant as “a tool of intimidation and continued assault on President Zuma, even in his retirement.”