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SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande has lashed out at an “orchestrated campaign” aimed not so much at discrediting Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, but to “spite the authority” of the man who has nominated him as chief justice – President Jacob Zuma – and undermine his government.
The “entire debate about the chief justice has little to do with the person of the chosen candidate but is part of an ongoing battle by the liberals in our society to consistently challenge and show the ANC and particularly its president as unable to take good decisions”, Nzimande wrote in the SACP’s online journal, Umsebenzi.
Nzimande, who is also higher education minister, blamed a “liberal agenda” with “a well-written script” for trying to portray “our liberation movement and the government it leads” as corrupt, anti-constitutional and against the freedom of the media.
Often acting in concert with opposition parties, the mainstream print media “and now, seemingly, SABC News”, it sought to elevate “civil society” as if it had won elections.
The “most concerted expression of this offensive” was around Zuma’s nomination of Justice Mogoeng, Nzimande said.
“No sooner had the president made this nomination than a well co-ordinated and orchestrated campaign was launched to try and discredit Justice Mogoeng, not so much in opposition to him, but to spite the authority of a president whose party was voted for by the overwhelming majority of our people.”
This “thoroughly dishonest” campaign was “largely informed by the fact that the choice of chief justice preferred by the liberals was not nominated by the president”.
“Much as the liberal offensive pretends to be seeking a seemingly ‘neutral’ and ‘objective’ judge, this was all a campaign for the appointment of a chief justice not above class and political interests, but a judge sympathetic to the oppositionist (if not capitalist) agenda of the liberals.”
Nzimande said the SACP “fully agreed” with ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe – who is also SACP chairman – that the debate around Justice Mogoeng’s suitability for the position was a “proxy war” aimed at discrediting Zuma, his government and the tripartite alliance.
He did not directly refer to Cosatu – the ANC’s other alliance partner – which said on Tuesday that the controversy over the contested nomination should not be reduced to a “proxy battle”.
Cosatu said that having a chief justice “not fully in sync with democratic values and the constitution” had far-reaching implications, not least because he would have major influence over shaping the judiciary.
Nzimande said the SACP acknowledged that some of the NGOs opposed to Justice Mogoeng were “genuinely concerned” about gender issues. But it was important the working class “in particular” wasn’t “misled to join a liberal offensive whose goals had nothing to do with gender, racial and class equality, but all to do with defending class elites that are threatened by majority rule”
. - Political Bureau