Plea for retired judge to probe allegations State Security Agency bribed judiciary
Cape Town – The Democratic Alliance (DA) has urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to appoint a retired judge to speedily investigate allegations that the State Security Agency (SSA) allegedly bribed members of the judiciary to sway judgments in favour of the politically connected.
Allegations of a so-called Project Justice was revealed during testimony by Sydney Mufamadi, chairperson of the high-level review panel that investigated the SSA, before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
Mufamadi testified that this was “a project that ostensibly involved recruiting and handling sources in the judiciary in order to influence the outcome of case against former President Jacob Zuma”.
DA justice and correctional services spokesperson Werner Horn said in a statement on Tuesday that the ’’mere nature of the allegations has had the effect of eroding public confidence and trust in the judiciary'’, which ’’could threaten the rule of law’’.
“For the sake of our constitutional democracy, it is essential that those tasked to be the ultimate guardians of the constitution and the rule of law should be beyond reproach and therefore it is not sufficient for the President and the Minister of Justice, Constitutional Development and Correctional Services to express support for the judiciary and to call for it to be supported and respected,” Horn said.
’’The mere nature of the allegations has had the effect of eroding public confidence and trust in the judiciary. If not dealt with immediately and conclusively, the allegations could threaten the rule of law and constitutionalism in our country.
’’These are serious allegations and we urge President Ramaphosa to appoint a retired judge as a matter of urgency to scrutinise and test these claims, and make findings that would either form the basis of further legal proceedings or conclusively exonerate those implicated.
’’In order to balance the rights of judges implicated in the report and the requirements of transparency and accountability, such an investigation should be guided by comprehensive terms of reference, which should require the handing over of a report by the SSA with the names of the judges who may have been involved in bribery or corruption, along with a requirement that names of individual judges only be published if and when properly substantiated factual findings have been made on the veracity and credibility of the allegations.’’