The independence of our courts is essential

2010-03-27 10:21

IT cannot be a coincidence that just a few days after ANC Youth

League leader Julius Malema visited Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye in prison, the

chief state prosecutor in the ­trial was allegedly instructed by prosecutions

boss Menzi Simelane not to oppose bail.

Both Malema and Simelane are among the so-called Zuma


According to newspaper reports, the order was given three times to

André Lambrecht, the chief state prosecutor of the West Rand. And Lambrecht

­refused three times. Now he has been ­relieved of his duties or, if the NPA is

to be believed, simply “reassigned”.

Since then magistrate André Auret has granted bail of R10?000 to

Jub Jub, who is facing murder charges over his involvement in a car race which

ended in the deaths of four schoolboys in Soweto.

There was a strong case against bail in this matter – the artist

tested positive for drugs and his appearances in court have been marred by

protests and threats of violence in Soweto, where pupils were vehemently opposed

to him being granted bail.

It is by no means the first time there have been allegations about

high-level interference in court matters.

It is not so long ago that Cape Judge President John Hlophe was

accused of seeking to ­influence the outcome of ­Constitutional Court cases

which involved then ANC president Jacob ­Zuma.

Although the Judicial ­Service Commission eventually decided that

Hlophe was not guilty of gross misconduct, the debacle left a bitter


Our hard-won democracy guarantees the separation of executive,

legislative and judicial powers in South Africa. The independence of the law is

enshrined in the Constitution.

We, the citizens of this country, cannot sit idly by and endorse

even a suggestion of interference in the independence of the courts. If we allow

that, we turn our backs on democracy and endorse anarchy.

Simelane’s fitness to hold his position is already the subject of

two separate proceedings triggered by a lack of confidence in his integrity and


The Bar Council is conducting an inquiry and the DA has an

application pending to have his appointment as National Director of Public

Prosecutions reviewed and set aside.

When Simelane, with his very questionable past in the justice

department, was appointed as National Prosecuting Athourity head by Zuma, it was

seen by many as blatant disregard of the Constitution and the law.

That decision, it seems, is now bearing fruit – and what rotten

fruit it is.

It also begs the question: What other cases might Simelane be

meddling in? We worry.


Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.