Mogoeng should hear views of ordinary people - Ramaphosa

2015-07-09 15:17
Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa

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Johannesburg - The role of the judiciary needs to be debated and judges need to know what ordinary South Africans think of them, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.

Ramaphosa was responding to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng's request on Wednesday to meet with President Jacob Zuma to address claims that judges were being influenced to reach specific verdicts.

"Yesterday [Wednesday] we saw the body of judges responding to what is perceived to be negative criticisms," Ramaphosa told delegates gathered at the SA Communist Party's special national congress at the University of Johannesburg's Soweto campus.

"Where there's criticism, people need to gather and debate this."

Ramaphosa said Mogoeng needed to hear the views of the people on the ground.

"What we will relay to the judges is the collective views of ordinary people on the ground; we would like them to have an understanding of that as well. We will take heed of what the judges have to say."

No constitutional crisis

He said there was no constitutional crisis in South Africa.

"Chief Justice, we welcome your call to meet the president and the executive to have a thorough discussion about your role going forward."

On Wednesday, Mogoeng hit back at the ANC's attacks on the judiciary.

He rejected claims that judges were being influenced to reach specific verdicts, saying he wanted to share his concerns about the allegations with Zuma.

"There have been suggestions that in certain cases... judges have been prompted to arrive at a predetermined result. This is a notion that we reject," Mogoeng said.

'Judicial overreach'

It was previously reported that Police Minister Nathi Nhleko had told senior managers of the Independent Police Investigating Directorate that there were "interesting" elements in the judiciary who "meet with characters to produce certain judgments".

He did not mention any specific cases.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, after an alliance summit last week, expressed concern about the judiciary interfering with the executive and the legislature, in what he termed “judicial overreach”.

Earlier on Thursday, the Presidency said in a statement Zuma would attend to Mogoeng's request as soon as he returned from Russia.

Zuma added that he strongly believed in the independence of the judiciary.

"The president wishes to reassert his own commitment and that of the Executive to the independence of the Judiciary and its role as the final arbiter in all disputes in society, as well as to the further strengthening of the existing good working relations between the two arms of the State," the Presidency said.

Read more on:    sacp  |  presidency  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  mogoeng mogoeng  |  johannesburg  |  judiciary

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