The Citizen (KZN)

Judiciary down the rabbit hole


We are four months into the year and while some people are now in the routine of going on a daily run to get a Comrades medal or eating healthily, I have picked up reading a kid’s book before bed.

Or, at least, I read it to my toddler. Among the collection of books on the shelf is the story of Alice in Wonderland. It follows a girl’s crazy adventures after following a rabbit down a hole.

Like Alice, South Africa was this week taken back down the rabbit hole of Jacob Zuma.

A wonderland where reality at times seems distorted and the noise distracts from what might be happening behind the scenes.

Zuma’s presidency brought successes and improvemen­ts for many South Africans. But it was also an era of state capture, propaganda and appointmen­ts that often defied logic and were out of touch with reality.

From the appointmen­t of Des van Rooyen and Malusi Gigaba as finance ministers to nuclear deals and Gupta-influenced media and government tenders; it was an uncertain time when you never knew what would come next from the Union Buildings.

There may be arguments for this starting before his presidency, but the feeling of disconnect and distorted reality that appeared with more regularity under Zuma has returned, including the Electoral Court decision this week to set aside an Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) decision to bar him from this year’s ballot.

The circumstan­ces that led to the court battle, including President Cyril Ramaphosa’s likely politicall­y motivated decision to grant a remission to Zuma and other prisoners, have been a fiasco that could have been avoided in the first place.

And it catapulted us back to head-scratching decisions and finger-pointing.

The reasons for the court’s decision aren’t clear and have not yet been shared with the public.

The long delay is shocking, yet not surprising. It is another sign of a judiciary so lethargic it seems at times to be in its own wonderland.

A report by Moneyweb this week noted the highest court in the land, the Constituti­onal Court, has not handed down a single judgment this year. It is the latest in a long line of reports about years’-long waits for justice and backlogs in the handing down verdicts.

It holds others accountabl­e but struggles to keep this same principle. What could happen next in the wonderland that could soon be a wasteland?

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