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Removing Dali Mpofu from the JSC is not in the interests of black people

Advocate Dali Mpofu cross-examined public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into allegations of state capture in Braamfontein. File Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

Advocate Dali Mpofu cross-examined public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into allegations of state capture in Braamfontein. File Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Mar 18, 2022

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MODIBE MODIBA

For the first time in our history, the recent Judicial Service Commission (JSC) interviews for the position of Chief Justice saw many South Africans having a key interest in the proceedings.

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Having a person like EFF President Julius Malema and Adv Dali Mpofu SC didn’t sit well with many anti-black and anti-transformation NGO’s.

As black people, irrespective of political affiliation, we’ve constantly been at the losing end of anything that seeks to push a pro black agenda that will benefit and truly be what we’ve always wanted as black people of South Africa, across political parties.

Shortly after the JSC interviews, we saw a well-coordinated media campaign including that of key institutions and their embattled NGO’s against Adv Mpofu and Julius Malema.

Last month, News24 editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson wrote an article in which he tore into Mpofu and EFF leader Julius Malema, labelling the senior counsel as someone with “thuggish behaviour, scoundrel, immoral and a nincompoop”.

At the heart of Basson’s anger was Malema and Mpofu’s performance during the JSC interviews where they grilled Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, who are believed to be his preferred candidates.

The JSC subsequently recommended Supreme Court of Appeal President Mandisa Maya for the judiciary’s top job.

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The attacks were simply directed to them because they caught out many lies, contradictions, put the constitution first, and asked critical questions, doing exactly what they had been placed there to do.

In a recent letter, surprisingly released on Sunday afternoon, Advocates for Transformation stated that they’ll soon be looking for a replacement to take up Dali Mpofu’s JSC position. A few days after the announcement of Justice Raymond Zondo for the position of Chief Justice.

As black people, we should ask ourselves very critical questions. Why would such a statement and story be broken by the most controversial journalist? Why soon after the President’s announcement?

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Removing Mpofu SC from the JSC would be a direct attack on black progressive organisations, the will of the people and would be going against the broader vision and dream of an uncaptured judiciary and transformation in the legal fraternity.

For 27 years, black people have faced the brunt of being excluded from the economy and anything which seeks to advance and protect the black majority of this country. The inclusion of people like Mpofu gave many of us hope. A hope of a better future for black people and black legal professionals. The same black professionals that constantly get attacked, hardly get briefs and support of which they desperately need.

Black professionals have constantly been attacked, called names, their images smeared through the media, and faced attacks. For once we saw unity amongst black progressive movements supporting and welcoming the inclusion of people like Malema and Mpofu in the JSC.

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The biggest threat to our survival as black people is having a government that doesn’t care, NGOs, and organisations that seek to discredit anything pro-black across political parties.

It’s time we carefully scrutinise and ask questions around these institutions, individuals, and movements that have misled us for many years. We should carefully analyse their behaviour and sentiments around people like Mpofu who are simply doing their work and working for the majority of people in our country.

Modibe Modiba is an independent political commentator.

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