We won't respond to Mogoeng yet - Presidency

2015-07-08 21:14
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng (File: Beeld)

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng (File: Beeld)

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Johannesburg - The Presidency would not immediately reply to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng's dismissal of allegations that the judiciary operated under influence.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mogoeng rubbished claims that judges were being influenced to reach specific verdicts, saying he wanted to share his concerns about the allegations with President Jacob Zuma. 

Presidential spokesperson Harold Maloka said they would wait until they had received an official letter from Mogoeng before making any public statement. 

"We cannot respond to the chief justice through the media," Maloka told News24. 

"We will wait for him to write to the president and the issues raised will be dealt with accordingly.” 

Mogoeng held a press briefing at the Intercontinental Hotel at OR Tambo International Airport, where he hit back at the ANC's attacks on the judiciary.

"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.

It was previously reported that Police Minister Nathi Nhleko 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”.

“There are already commonly expressed concerns that the judgments of certain regions and judges are consistently against the state, which creates an impression of negative bias,” Mantashe said

In response to these claims, Mogoeng said there were avenues the public could use to lay complaints if they were unsatisfied with judgments or suspected the judiciary of wrongdoing. 

"In a case where a judge does overstep... the general public, litigants, aggrieved or interest parties should refer the matter to the judicial conduct committee of the judicial service commission," he said.

"The rule of law is the cornerstone of our constitutional democracy. In simple terms everybody... is subject to and bound by the Constitution and the law," Mogoeng said.

Last month, government defied the judiciary when it acted against an order granted by the High Court in Pretoria that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir should be kept in the country.

Government officials allowed Al-Bashir to slip out of the country following an African Union summit despite the ruling. 

Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court to stand trial on charges, including genocide. As South Africa is a signatory to the court’s Rome Statute it is obliged to arrest and hand him over to the court.

Asked about what would happen if government continued to disobey court orders, Mogoeng said the judiciary would "cross that bridge when we get there."

He said it was difficult to predict what action would be taken but hoped that this would not be a regular occurrence. 

Shortly after Al-Bashir's departure, ANC secretary general Jessie Duarte told the media that the situation was unfortunate.

“It’s unfortunate that we actually had to disobey a judge’s order to comply with an international obligation that we have,” she said. 

“I think the country made the right choice. You do not make the choice to arrest a sitting head of state on your soil, ever.”

Read more on:    mogoeng mogoeng  |  judiciary

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