'Judges think they're descendants of God'

By Lynnette Johns Time of article published Sep 6, 2008

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Judges see themselves as "descendants of God" who came down from heaven to the bench thinking whatever they say is divine, says the Young Communist League's national secretary.

Buti Manamela was speaking at a press briefing ahead of the launch of the Progressive Youth Alliance at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology's campus in Bellville on Friday.

The alliance is made up of the South African Students' Congress, the Young Communist League and the ANC Youth League.

The three organisations have joined forces to contest SRC elections at tertiary institutions across the country.

Manamela said one could not have a situation where the judiciary felt it was above reproach. It was also a problem when one judge was investigated for his utterances, but not others.

Manamela said a judiciary which could not accept public opinion was not worthy of being called a judiciary. People had a right to express opinions about the judiciary but should do so in a way to "build and not to collapse institutions".

Last month Sasco said the Constitutional Court's judgment against Jacob Zuma and arms company Thint on the validity of search warrants involved a "political hand".

On Friday Sasco president Mawethu Rune said before the launch that the judiciary should not be above reproach.

"We are bitter about the manner (in which) the judiciary conducts itself. The judiciary is an arm of the state and is subject to critique and accountable to the public (sic)," he said.

"The judiciary must be subjected to criticism and engagement and it can't be above public scrutiny."

Rune said they would continue to express their views as this was part of deepening democracy and protecting institutions "we have created".

Last month the Young Communist League accused ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe of undermining ruling party structures after Motlanthe said the judiciary should be defended, not criticised.

The ANC Youth League appeared to have solved its differences with Motlanthe following a meeting between it and the party's national working committee.

Western Cape provincial secretary Thandi Mahambehlala said on Friday the youth league would "never be bitter with the deputy president".

"We are an independent body in the ANC, we have respect and the right to speak. He has a profile that we will respect and learn from."

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