Wrong­ful at­tacks on Zondo

CityPress - - Voices -

Dur­ing all of for­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s trou­bles with the law, he and his sup­port­ers have not once paused to con­sider whether he ac­tu­ally does have a case to an­swer. Theirs has been a fes­ti­val of con­spir­a­cies, with Zuma be­ing the tar­get of mul­ti­ple forces – both do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional.

In their quest to de­fend their man, Zuma’s sup­port­ers at­tacked any per­son and any in­sti­tu­tion hold­ing him to ac­count, deem­ing them en­e­mies and counter-rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies. The ju­di­ciary, whose duty and re­spon­si­bil­ity is to ad­ju­di­cate mat­ters that come be­fore it, has not es­caped the ire of Zuma’s brig­ands. Over the past 15 years, judges have been at­tacked by Zuma’s sup­port­ers, ei­ther in­di­vid­u­ally or as a col­lec­tive.

Dur­ing his years as pres­i­dent, re­la­tions be­tween the ex­ec­u­tive and the ju­di­ciary plunged to an all­time low. The per­sis­tent at­tacks on the ju­di­ciary prompted it to fight back, led by Chief Jus­tice Mo­go­eng Mo­go­eng, in de­fence of ju­di­cial in­de­pen­dence. It was un­char­ac­ter­is­tic of South Africa’s judges to pub­licly take a stand against the ac­tions of the gov­ern­ment of the day, but they were left with no choice.

The ju­di­ciary is once more in the crosshairs of the Zuma crowd. This time, the tar­get is Deputy Chief Jus­tice Ray­mond Zondo, who is chair­ing the com­mis­sion of inquiry into state cap­ture. Af­ter mak­ing a com­i­cal ap­pear­ance at the com­mis­sion last year, where he spun loony con­spir­acy the­o­ries about global forces gang­ing up on him, Zuma has been re­sist­ing a fol­low-up ap­pear­ance. This has com­pelled the com­mis­sion to threaten a sub­poena to force him to come back to the stand. This is what prompted at­tacks on Zondo’s per­son.

The at­tacks by Zuma’s acolytes have been lev­elled at the man­date of the com­mis­sion, which has been ac­cused of fur­ther­ing the in­ter­ests of so-called white mo­nop­oly cap­i­tal and sup­press­ing the pro­po­nents of so-called rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion. Zondo him­self has been ac­cused of hav­ing per­sonal bias against Zuma, and of try­ing to hu­mil­i­ate the for­mer pres­i­dent to po­si­tion him­self as the chief jus­tice who will suc­ceed Mo­go­eng.

These at­tacks can­not be taken lightly. They are the dan­ger­ous work of des­per­ate forces de­fend­ing a des­per­ate man. So­ci­ety must speak out in de­fence the work of the com­mis­sion and the in­tegrity of the judge chair­ing this im­por­tant process.

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