Ramaphosa is my friend and I vote ANC, judge tells JSC

2015-04-14 14:22

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The integrity of High Court Judge Joseph Raulinga was called into question today after he dropped the name of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in his interview before the Judicial Service Commission.

As well as listing Ramaphosa as one of his friends, he also made it known that he voted for the ANC and used to be a member of the party.

Raulinga’s disclosure led to questions being raised about his independence. Some members of the panel warned that by dropping names he could be seen to be trying to influence the decision of the panel.

Commissioner and Economic Freedom Fighter leader Julius Malema took particular offence at Raulinga’s disclosure. The judge was applying for the position of judge president of the soon-to-be-launched Limpopo Division of the High Court.

“I was in politics … I belonged to the ANC,” said Raulinga.

The response was received with a sad face from Malema, who asked him which party he belonged to now.

“I vote for the ANC,” he said.

Malema said that EFF members had a problem with Raulinga’s ruling in their battle against the Independent Electoral Commission regarding the registration of political parties.

In March last year, Raulinga ruled against the EFF in its urgent application against the electoral commission challenging the R600 000 deposit the party would be charged to contest the elections. Raulinga ruled that the matter was not urgent and ordered the EFF to pay the state’s costs.

“We had a problem with your ruling but we saw it as justice ... But since now [that] we know that you are Cyril Ramaphosa’s friend it now explains why you ruled against us. Would I be fair to judge like that?” asked Malema.

Justice Minister Michael Masutha tried to prevent the question being answered, asking Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to rule on the fairness of the question.

However, Malema warned him that if he started interfering he knew what would happen next.

Mogoeng allowed Malema to continue with his questions and also raised concerns about Raulinga’s revelations.

“And also why did you mention which party you vote for? Isn’t it enough that your vote is your secret?” asked Mogoeng, adding that another party might not like it if Raulinga presided over a case they brought in future against the ANC.

Raulinga said his handling of cases against the government spoke for itself. He cited two cases in which he ruled against the government, saying his political affiliation was not unduly affecting his job.

The hearings continue.

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