Pietermaritzburg - Justice Minister Jeff Radebe on Wednesday criticised a “No-vote” campaign by some ANC stalwarts, saying the move undermines the sacrifices made by opponents of apartheid.
Conduct that belonged to the jungle had emerged, he said as he opened the revamped Pietermaritzburg Magistrate's Court.
“We found it absurd that some, for whatever reason, suggest today that the democratic right to vote should be nullified en masse through the spoilt vote because some of those of our people who were in the trenches paid the ultimate price for our freedom and democracy,” he said.
Radebe cited Solomon Mahlangu and slain SA Communist Party leader Chris Hani among the people that paid dearly to end apartheid.
On Tuesday, former ministers Ronnie Kasrils and Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge launched the “Sidikiwe! Vukani!Vote-no!” campaign at Wits University, appealing to South Africans not to vote for the ANC.
The campaign calls on South Africans to either vote for a minority party, or spoil their ballot.
Radebe condemned ruling party critics, saying party members should protect the African National Congress's image both in and outside government.
“There is a tendency which is gaining currency that anything negative can be propagated against the ANC and be attributed to the ANC government, but that the ANC government in general and the ANC in particular must not politically respond to these charges made against it.”
Radebe said government was aware of its shortcomings and took responsibility for them.
The revamped court consists of three civil courts, two maintenance courts, a children's court, and facilities for administrative staff.
Radebe said the R57 million facility underlined government's commitment to ensure access to justice for all. He said the court had historical significance in being the venue of former president Nelson Mandela's appearance after his arrest in Howick in 1962. - Sapa