No war against Zuma, says Cosatu
Johannesburg - Cosatu's opposition to Judge Mogoeng Mogoeng's nomination as chief justice should not be seen as a war with President Jacob Zuma, spokesperson Patrick Craven said on Tuesday.
"The Congress of SA Trade Unions finds completely problematic the posture that suggests that any in-principle disagreement with the president is a ‘war’," Craven said.
"If we were to allow ourselves to be blackmailed by this logic, our nation would, in no time, be reduced into a choir of yes-men and women."
He was reacting to remarks reportedly made by ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe at a Food and Allied Workers' Union conference. Business Day reported that Mantashe criticised Cosatu's opposition to the appointment.
"That fight about Mogoeng has nothing to do with Mogoeng. It is a proxy war against Zuma, the president of the ANC," he said.
Mantashe was not criticising Cosatu, Craven said. The proxy battle had been raised "by some" as a general and sweeping statement against all those who opposed his appointment.
They felt that a chief justice "not fully in sync" with democratic values had far-reaching implications.
The chief justice chaired the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and could attempt to "pack the courts with judges who espouse problematic values".
Cosatu felt Mogoeng had responded fairly well to some of the allegations made against him, but had failed to adequately respond to its concerns on violence against women and gender issues.
Mogoeng was nominated by Zuma for the top judicial post, but before his public interview the media reported on some controversial judgments, particularly relating to violence against women and children.
The DA planned to officially ask Zuma to not appoint him at a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, but Zuma's office cancelled.
The JSC has handed its recommendation to Zuma for consideration. According to a JSC member who spoke on condition of anonymity on Sunday, Mogoeng got the approval of most of the JSC members.
Cosatu's concerns centred on the judgments raised by the media and "appalling" statements made in the judgments.