'Give our judiciary the respect it deserves' - Legal Practice Council

2019-09-30 12:59
The Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court (Getty Images)

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The Legal Practice Council (LPC), which regulates the legal profession, has cautioned South Africans against criticising the judiciary without any substantive evidence. 

On Monday, the LPC said it has noted the "unfortunate" increase in unwarranted criticism of the judiciary, adding that any remarks levelled at the judiciary's decisions without evidence undermined the autonomy of the courts. 

"The council believes that everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the right of the citizens to criticise judicial decisions where justified," LPC chairperson Kathleen Matolo-Dlepu said.

Recently, several allegations were levelled against judges as some politicians launched personal attacks on them.

A purported "list" was also previously circulated on social media and it was alleged that some judges had benefited from funds from President Cyril Ramaphosa's CR17 campaign for the ANC presidency, claims which have yet to be proven or backed up with evidence. 

ANALYSIS | Critics of judges are raising the temperature: legitimate, or dangerous?

"South Africa is a constitutional democracy that is safeguarded by the judiciary. Any unfortunate remarks about the judiciary's decisions without evidence undermines the autonomy of the courts.

"As the regulatory body of the legal profession in South Africa, we believe that our judicial system is one of the most robust in the world," Matolo-Dlepu said.  

Matolo-Dlepu said the judiciary's dignity and independence needed to be valued. 

"We appeal to everyone in a position of influence to give our judiciary the respect it deserves and the opportunity to act independently," Matolo-Dlepu said. 

On September 13, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng called on those who had evidence of captured or corrupt judges to provide concrete proof and to stop hiding behind fictional identities.

He said his office had asked national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole to use relevant capacities at his disposal to "uncover the real forces behind the masks who are making apparently gratuitous allegations of corruption or capture against the judiciary".

Read more on:    lpc  |  kathleen matolo-dlepu  |  corruption  |  judiciary  |  courts
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