Johannesburg - Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng says he rejected a R600-million offer to modernise courts "with the necessary contempt because that is how capture happens".
Justice Mogoeng was speaking at the Constitutional Court yesterday where he delivered the annual judiciary report.
Mogoeng called on those who had evidence of wrongdoing by members of the judiciary to come forward and present it instead of attacking the judiciary.
Justice Mogoeng said there had been no evidence presented to him or the Judicial Service Commission on the allegation that some judges were captured or corrupt.
“There have been allegations of corruption against us, against members of the judiciary and some people believed that it was a matter of either the Judicial Service Commission or the Chief Justice approaching the banks of the colleagues involved and say ‘hey bring their bank statements, let me see’. It would be illegal,” he said.
He said the attacks on the judiciary were done by those who feared being on the wrong side of the law.
“We are not a perfect institution and we ought not to be immune from legitimate criticism,” Justice Mogoeng said.
EFF leader Julius Malema is one of the prominent politicians who recently accused the judiciary of being on the verge of capture.
Lobby group Constitution, Accountability, State and Independence of the Judiciary of South Africa also recently approached Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who chairs the commission of inquiry into state capture, and asked for the probe of five KwaZulu-Natal judges who were allegedly involved in corruption and facilitation of money laundering.
Justice Mogoeng said the judiciary had never shied away from holding their own to account when there was evidence.
Speaking on the performance of the judiciary, Justice Mogoeng said superior courts had managed to perform
at 70% in the period under review, with the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) performing better than most of them.
“They (SCA) finalised 214 of the 231 cases during this period of reporting. Additional to that they had to contend with 1062 applications which were finalised out of 1095.
“Our high courts have really done well under extremely challenging circumstances.
“The statistics are there. They had 145127 civil cases and finalised 114650,”he said.
Justice Mogoeng said the judiciary had taken a decision to modernise courts and introduce e-filing but
that this was frustrated by lack of resources.
“That of course depends on funding. I may have mentioned to some that I was approached by somebody offering R600-million so that we can modernise.
“But I know that person and the institution and I rejected it with the necessary contempt because that is how capture happens,” Justice Mogoeng said.
He did not reveal the name of the individual or the institution he belonged to.
“We don’t want to be funded in the middle of the night however people may posture as benevolent givers of assistance,” he said.