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Karyn Maughan | The Big Chill: Inside campaign to intimidate SA’s judiciary, and cripple rule of law

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While the judiciary largely withstood the most obvious forms of state capture, it was not able to withstand the pernicious politicisation of the judiciary, argues  retired SCA judge Azhar Cachalia.
While the judiciary largely withstood the most obvious forms of state capture, it was not able to withstand the pernicious politicisation of the judiciary, argues retired SCA judge Azhar Cachalia.
Photo by Gallo Images/Nicolene Olckers

South Africa's judges have primarily held the line against irrational and unlawful conduct by the powerful. But, Karyn Maughan writes, years of politicised Judicial Service Commission interviews and concerted attacks on the courts now threaten the judiciary's resilience. 

Shortly after Gauteng High Court in Pretoria Judge Elias Matojane ruled that former president Jacob Zuma had been unlawfully released on medical parole and should return to prison, he started receiving threats so vicious that judicial authorities turned to the police for help.

"I don't know how many times I had to speak to him and assure him, because he was really worried," Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo would later tell the Judicial Service Commission. 

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