Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture:Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture:Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Jacob Zuma repeats claims that judges were bribed, Julius Malema calls for probe

By Sihle Mavuso Time of article published Feb 17, 2021

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Durban - A few days before former president Jacob Zuma returns to the Pietermaritzburg High Court to face corruption charges, he has launched another attack against the country’s judicial system and some judges.

In the latest instalment of his attack, albeit without producing any evidence, Zuma said some judges were hell-bent on fighting political battles instead of administering justice in a fair manner.

The attack was part of a package of missiles Zuma was firing at the Zondo Commission and its chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, whom he wants to recuse himself before he appears to testify.

To drive home his point that some judges are corrupt and do not deserve to sit on the Bench, Zuma revived the issue of the CR17 bank statements that were controversially sealed through a court order. The order was issued by Pretoria High Court Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba in August 2019 after a request by President Cyril Ramaphosa through his lawyers.

Zuma claimed that that was proof enough that some judges were not qualified to be on the Bench as they may have been allegedly bribed, and that they had sealed the statements because they were covering their potentially exposed backs.

“What justice are we serving and what law will be followed when I am long gone. I know that instead of confronting these questions I am raising, many will resort to sarcasm, and seek a response that blames me. In any event, that is what has led us to this point. The failure to see our law beyond one individual we seek to punish.

“We sit with some judges who have assisted the incumbent president (Ramaphosa) to hide from society, what on the face of it seem to be bribes obtained in order to win an internal ANC election. We sit with some judges who sealed those records simply because such records may reveal that some of them, while presiding in our courts, have had their hands filled with the proverbial 30 pieces of silver,” Zuma claimed in his statement.

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Tyrone Seale, referred all questions to the ANC. ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe did not respond when asked to do so.

Earlier, Zuma had cited the case of North Gauteng High Court Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, whom he accused of breaching the principle of separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary. He did not end there and claimed that Mlambo could flip-flop on the same principle simply to punish him.

The missiles aimed at the judiciary did not end with Zuma as on Tuesday EFF leader Julius Malema, protected by parliamentary privileges, commented during his reply to Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address.

Citing the same CR17 case and allegations before the Zondo Commission that some judges had been bribed in order to sway their rulings, Malema said this evidence was sufficient.

“Mr President, we cannot continue to bury our heads in the sand regarding the growing and now believable allegation that some prominent members … of the judiciary are in the payroll of the white capitalist establishment. We cannot ignore the allegations that some of the judges have received bribes through the SSA’s (State Security Agency) Project Justice as well as from CR17 donations, which by all standards and measures amounted to massive corruption, money laundering and racketeering. The judiciary must know that they are not above the Constitution. They are judges, not gods,” said Malema.

The existence of “Project Justice” was revealed before the commission by Acting SSA director-general Loyiso Jafta and former state security minister, Dr Sydney Mufamadi.

Jafta told the commission that at least one judge was on the radar for receiving bribes from the agency.

“We have very strong circumstantial evidence some of the money went into the hands of members, or a member, of the judiciary,” Jafta told the commission.

Early in the week Mufamadi told the same commission that Project Justice involved recruiting and handling sources in the judiciary.

”Allegations made were to the effect that judges were bribed to achieve this purpose. This should, however, be treated with extreme caution as one would not want to be party to the destruction of public confidence in the judiciary if there is no actual evidence that the operation was carried out to conclusion,” Mufamadi said.

The spokesperson of the Office of the Chief Justice, Nathi Mncube, had not responded after being asked to do so. This was after confirming he had received the questions from Independent Media.

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Political Bureau

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