Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo held a briefing on an op-ed piece by Minister Lindiwe Sisulu raising a number of arguments on South African law which was published on IOL. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

ACTING Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has slammed Tourism Lindiwe Sisulu for insulting judges of the Constitutional Court, saying her opinion article lacks facts and proper analysis.  

Sisulu recently wrote an opinion piece in which she said the rule of law does not serve African values and interests.

Zondo said Sisulu has not only insulted the justices of the Constitutional Court, judges of the Supreme Court of Appeal and those in the high courts, but all African judges.

“We do not say even now that we should not be criticised. We accept that we may be criticised but we say criticism should be fair and should have a proper factual basis but this is not criticism,” said Zondo.

“We hope she’ll have the decency to withdraw the insult she has hurled at the African judges … I am not playing into the political gallery. This is probably the worst insult that has been levelled against the judiciary.”

Zondo added: “If that brings about the kinds of insults that Ms Sisulu has heaped on us we will not change. We will still continue to do our job the way we are required to do it in accordance with our oath of office.”

“It should not be acceptable in a constitutional democracy such as ours that a member of parliament and a member of the executive should wake up one morning without any facts.”

 Zondo said there are no facts put up by Sisulu in her article supporting what she’d said.

“There is no analysis of anything. It’s just accusations, insults to the judiciary,” said Zondo.

“We do not say even now that we should not be criticised. We accept that we may be criticised but we say criticism should be fair and should have a proper factual basis but this is not criticism.”

Sisulu, in a recent opinion piece published by IOL – written in her personal capacity as a long-standing member of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) – criticised the South African Constitution, saying it had resulted in “a sea of African poverty” since the abolishment of apartheid rule in 1994.

She said SA had adopted a “neo-liberal constitution” that had led to the “co-option and invitation of political power brokers to the dinner table, whose job is to keep the masses quiet in their sufferance while they dine caviar with colonised capital”.

Sisulu also lamented the slow pace of land reform in the country and the exclusion of the black majority from economic participation, stating that the constitution had “legitimised wrongdoing under the umbrella of the rule of law”.

Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele has criticised Sisulu for her controversial opinion piece, saying her statements are counter-revolutionary and amount to “recklessness of the highest order”.

Gungubele said the constitution, which was signed into law by former president Nelson Mandela in Sharpeville on 10 December 1996, was a product of the sacrifices of many South Africans who had fought against the apartheid regime and its atrocities.

“To me, it is the recklessness of the highest order, and the government will strongly distance itself in the interest of the supremacy of the constitution,” Gungubele said on Tuesday in an interview with eNCA.

The minister said Sisulu’s comments were strange for someone who is a long-standing member of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC), and a Cabinet minister who was sworn in to protect and champion the values of the constitution.

“The worst part of it is an attack on the rule of law, and I can tell you without any equivocation, to me, the attack on the rule of law – which is an outcome of the people’s process – is counter-revolution in a sense that it creates an environment that is orderless [and] makes it difficult to pursue the goals of the revolution,” he said.

“For the goals of the revolution to be pursued, you need an orderly environment and our orderly environment is an instrument [the constitution], which is an outcome of the people’s process.”

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