Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s criticism of Minister Sisulu sparks backlash from her supporters

Lindiwe Sisulu has set her sights on the ANC presidency. File Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/ANA

Lindiwe Sisulu has set her sights on the ANC presidency. File Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/ANA

Published Feb 10, 2022


DURBAN - Branches of the ANC have thrown their support behind Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu ahead of her appearance before the party’s integrity commission and called for Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to stay in his lane.

Zondo has been the subject of criticism from various organisations and members of the public who felt that he had abused his power in campaigning for the position of chief justice.

Last month, Zondo held a press briefing calling for president Cyril Ramaphosa to discipline Sisulu after she wrote an article in which she expressed disappointment on several issues, including the lack of transformation in the judiciary, and that it had done little or nothing for the victims of colonialism but deepened the rise to “a sea of poverty”.

Sisulu is expected to appear before the integrity commission to explain herself regarding the article.

ANC Youth League (ANCYL) Vhembe Regional Conference Preparatory Committee (RCPC) issued a statement defending Sisulu. The RCPC expressed concern about Zondo’s conduct.

“We have been appalled by the unfairness and attacks levelled against comrade Sisulu (chairperson of Social Transformation Sub-Committee of the ANC). These attacks seem to be coming from the rented crowds in all sections of our society, disguised as commentary.

“Chief amongst those was Zondo, who visibly struggled to comprehend Sisulu’s argumentative intellectual tenets of the article, such as unemployment, poverty, and economic emancipation.

“Out of desperation, he ended up calling for an unwarranted press conference for himself to express his emotions. He was pushed to do that because he never had the same courage when Trevor Manuel called judges rogues in gowns. This is serious double standards from him,” read the statement.

Patrice Mangena, chairperson of the the AB Xuma Branch in ward 9, Western Cape, said that they were taken aback by the attacks on Sisulu.

He said that the branch viewed it as an orchestrated media campaign to discredit Sisulu and take away her constitutional right to freedom of speech.

“As a structure, we are aligned to every sentence of her article, as such, we support her views particularly on the land issue and economic justice. We know that some attacks on her are factionally motivated, so impede her from running for the ANC presidency.

“So to those who are obsessed by the onslaught on Sisulu, we wish to warn you that an attack on her, is an attack on us as the ANC, we are fully behind her.”

In the Northern Cape, branch executive committee of ward 27 in Sol Plaatje subregion’s Eric Metsimetsi said: “We are worried about the posture taken by Zondo and some sections of the society in their commentary against Cde Lindiwe Sisulu. We are in full support of her stand on the poverty debate and land.”

Metsimetsi warned that an attack to Sisulu was an attack on the members of the party who shared the same sentiments on the question of non-transformation as Sisulu.

The secretary of the Boitsepiville in the Sedibeng Region, Sello Maeco, said that the subregion had noticed with grave concern the attacks on Sisulu and emphasised that they were fully behind her.

“It must be noted that Cde Lindiwe is the chairperson of Social Transformation Sub-Committee of the ANC and therefore the custodian of socio-economic progress in our society. The attacks on her are as a consequence of Cabinet factional battles and by extension tactics of Stratcom, especially those who are threatened by radical ANC policies.

“We would like to categorically state that we are aligned to her views in her article. We support her position fully. Last, but not least, when the nomination process opens for the national conference, we will rally behind Cde Lindy Sisulu,” said Maeco.

In the Chris Hani region, which is third biggest in the Eastern Cape, chairperson of the Berrington Mandi Branch in Enoch Mgijimi subregion, Makhosonke Mgweba, said Sisulu “has all the rights to be the voice of the voiceless”.

“It is funny for Zondo to respond in the manner that he did. We believe he is the acting chief justice, not a politician to even respond in that manner”.

In the Ekurhuleni region Thobinceba Mnukwa, the chairperson of Dr Rashid branch in ward 72, said: “There is no economic transformation. The 1913 Natives Land Act caused nothing but poverty and inequality. We agree with Sisulu that we need change.”

The party’s national spokesperson, Pule Mabe, had not responded to enquiries by the time of publication.

Spokesperson for the judiciary Nathi Mncube said Zondo chairs the JSC, but he would ask the deputy chief justice to reply. He had not done so by time of publication.

Daily News