South Africa - Johannesburg - 20 October 2020 - Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo at the Commission of Inquiry into allegations of state capture.Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)
South Africa - Johannesburg - 20 October 2020 - Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo at the Commission of Inquiry into allegations of state capture.Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

LETTER: Judge Raymond Zondo is a man of sound moral principle

By Opinion Time of article published Jan 19, 2021

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OPINION - There is a sad but common misconception in our society that time and energy contributed to others is time and energy lost.

Rare is the individual with the proper perspective to recognise that we may give without losing, and that it is often in giving that we gain.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is such an individual. He possesses an instinct for the critical fact, the gut issue, born of his exquisite sense of the practical. At the commission of inquiry, he was able to sear the nation’s conscience and move hearts formerly strangled in hoary intransigence.

And, because of him, the nation is morally alert.

His carefully reasoned and beautifully written opinions are models of the art of judging. His opinions will continue to inspire legions of jurists to follow in his way.

Many know him for his fairness, judicial restraint, and eloquent and influential opinions.

He is a person of sound moral principle, honesty and sincere character. When those precious traits are inseparable, as they are in him, they are called integrity, which have earned him profound respect and gratitude.

The nation needs to understand the positive impact Judge Zondo has on our country. He fulfils his responsibility with diligence and honour.

The nation should always be grateful for his integrity and absolute probity, and for his contributions to our law and the dignity of our courts.

As a judge, he gave years of inspirational services to out nation. He is a genuinely caring person and a model of civility.

He is a man of outstanding intelligence, talent and integrity. He has articulated that in the hierarchy of values, judicial integrity is above judicial independence. His pristine decisions have echoed from his soul to the nib of the pen.

The courts stand as an arbiter in holding the balance between individuals and between the State and the individual, and should not have the slightest hesitation to strike down or condemn any statutory shelter for bureaucratic discrimination, any legislative refuge for the exercise of naked arbitrary power in violation of any of the provisions of the constitution.

Judges are independent of all, the executive, Parliament and from within themselves, and should be free to act in an independent and unbiased manner. No member of any government department has any right whatsoever to direct or influence the decision of any of the judges.

It is the sure knowledge of this that gives the public confidence in our judges. Judges should not be politically beholden to any government. It is not easy to dwell on the magnitude of the services Judge Zondo has rendered to the commission that he chairs.

He is one of the most rapid thinkers we have ever seen, and watching him on television, even under pressure, he never loses his temper or self-control.

When his report is published, South Africa will witness a seismic political earthquake that will rock the establishment for decades to come.

FAROUK ARAIE

Johannesburg

The Mercury

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