Nzimande welcomes planned discussions between Zuma and judiciary

2015-07-11 19:31

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Soweto - SA Communist Party General Secretary Blade Nzimande welcomed a planned meeting between leaders of the judiciary and President Jacob Zuma, saying it was everybody's right to question whether the judiciary is interfering in parliamentary process.

''We are concerned about judicial over-reach and that they must tread carefully. And that is not out of disrespect,'' said Nzimande at the conclusion of the SACP's Special National Congress.

This week Nzimande, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and African National Congress Secretary General Gwede Mantashe questioned whether the judiciary was encroaching on the turf of other organs of state.

The judges, led by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, expressed dismay at these comments and said it was supposed to act impartially.

But Nzimande said the point was not to debate case by case, but on the separation of powers.

''For courts to rule on parliamentary rules that are made by Parliament, that's really over-reaching,'' he said.

''And worse also you rule in such a manner that it reinforces the hooliganism of the [Economic Freedom Fighters]. That's a problem. South Africans are concerned.''

He said that the media was not welcoming a debate on the question, which is what the parties are calling for.

To call for a debate is not an attack, and also to express our concerns is not an attack. We must stick to the issue of the Constituton on the issue of the separation of powers.

''It's a very important meeting and... there must be frank exchanges. We are all human beings after all.''

In a letter on the ANC's website, Nzimande, who is also minister of higher education wrote: ''There is growing ideological blackmail, led by the media and the opposition parties, that ANC ministers and/or ANC and Alliance leaders must not express their views, as these are seen as a threat to democracy by virtue of it being said by us''.

He continued: ''The SACP believes that our judiciary must be respected. There is no question about that. But part of fostering respect for the judiciary is that it must be transformed so that it has the confidence of the overwhelming majority of our people.

Transformation of the judiciary must also include access to justice for workers and the poor, and not only for wealthy and influential people. It essentially means justice for all.

'Part of respect for the judiciary, and indeed our whole democratic order, must be that all the three arms of the state - Parliament, the executive and the judiciary - must scrupulously respect the separation of powers.

''This debate is also not informed by smear campaigns against the judiciary, a concern rightly and recently expressed by the chief justice. We condemn such campaigns, as the SACP strongly believes that smear campaigns achieve nothing. What we need is a healthy and constructive debate.

Read more on:    sacp  |  mogoeng mogoeng  |  blade nzimande  |  jacob zuma  |  judiciary  |  politics

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