President Jacob Zuma. File picture
President Jacob Zuma. File picture

Political use of courts is wrong

By Yonela Diko Time of article published Aug 24, 2015

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The DA and EFF taking the President Zuma to court over Nkandla is silly and anti-democratic, says Yonela Diko.

Cape Town - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are taking President Jacob Zuma to the Constitutional Court over Nkandla. The EFF wants the court to force Zuma to implement the public protector’s recommendation on Nkandla.

But wait, did the DA not already try this. So we can expect the Concourt to say, as did the Western Cape High Court before without an appeal: “If the constitution wanted the public protector’s recommendations to be binding it would have said so.”

The Concourt will most likely be irritated because the Western Cape High Court’s Judge Ashton Schippers had already said that to the DA.

But the EFF most likely does not know this because Judge Schippers’ views did not support the view peddled by the liberals, and was therefore not overplayed in the media.

This is the problem with the liberal view, which by its very nature is always on the offensive against the government. It does not popularise views that do not support it, and the result is those who depend on the liberal media for information will stumble over themselves redoing things already done because they don't know about them.

Here are the facts. The public protector’s recommendations are not binding.

They are recommendations made to Parliament, and Parliament created two ad hoc committees to look into them along with recommendations by other investigations.

The ad hoc committees have presented their findings to Parliament and Parliament has adopted the findings. Case closed.

No media, analysts, professors, or university think tanks armed with liberal views and bias can do much about these democratic processes.

But liberal bias remains dangerous as it will continue the Zuma trial by the liberal machine.

There is a difference between liberal bias and a liberal view.

Liberal bias is partisan selection or distortion of information to support liberal policies.

This bias can be expressed by professors and private schoolteachers, board examiners, journalists in mainstream media, and any other information source.

Typically, purveyors of liberal bias falsely present themselves as being objective. This leaves judges who are not liberals unpopular.

However, Judge Schippers has made his judgment. There is a reason the constitution did not declare the recommendations of the public protector binding and Thuli Madonsela went on the offensive and accused the judge of a cut and paste job, for which she later apologised in Parliament.

But you don't hear such things widely reported, because they don't support the liberal view. The question then is, how much do the ideological beliefs of editors affect what they tell the public.

Madonsela's work was over the moment she submitted her report to Parliament. The fact that Parliament, by the dictates of democratic elections, is dominated by the ANC and hence favours any ANC leader is a reality of democracy and, frankly, none of her business.

For her, the DA, EFF and other minions to continue to undermine Parliament just because it is dominated by ANC a is silly and anti-democratic.

Ultimately, elections matter. You are not going to lose elections and then try to use lawyers and procedural tricks and courts in order to seek gains that you could not get through a ballot box. Hopefully, our judges have woken up to being used for political gamesmanship.

We are not going to be taught by opposition parties what constitutional democracy means. We are not going to be taught by the media or Madonsela what powers Chapter 9 institutions have and how far should they go, and we are certainly not going to let our courts be used as a political tool.

The DA, oblivious to their earlier court ruling is back in court too. The party claims Zuma failed to comply with the public protector’s finding that he repay a reasonable percentage of the non-security upgrades with the guidance of the police and National Treasury. It is clear that if there was any other avenue for the DA to get their way other than the courts they would. Again, the courts will give them the same answer.

Now, as long as there is media fracas around the Nkandla issue, the opposition will play it to the bone. Of course, that's what oppositions do. What we reject is using our courts for that political gamesmanship.

It would serve the EFF and DA better to focus their energies in actually winning more votes.



* Yonela Diko is spokesman for the ANC in the Western Cape.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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