The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) has criticised Chief Justice Raymond Zondo for his “careless” Zuma-Gupta State capture utterances.
Zondo indicated that the planning for state capture took place before 2010 or the 2009 ANC Polokwane elective conference that elected Jacob Zuma as president of the party.
Zondo also said he believed if the independent and multidisciplinary unit, the Scorpions, were not disbanded, there would not be such high levels of corruption in the country.
“When do you think the planning for the Gupta-Zuma state capture started? I don’t think it started in 2010, I don’t think it started in 2009. There is a good chance it started before the Polokwane conference,” Zondo said.
It is these utterances that have angered the PAC with the party saying Zondo’s comments were unfit to be uttered by a reigning chief justice who should remain impartial at all times.
Zondo who addressed delegates to the first day of the anti-corruption summit hosted by the National Anti-Corruption Council (Nacac) in Boksburg on Wednesday said state capture was planned ahead of time to achieve its own ends.
PAC spokesperson, Azania Tyali said the party disapproves of the chief justice’s recent comments.
“The PAC is extremely disappointed by the conduct of the Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. The Chief Justice has once again toyed with the independence of the judiciary. Yesterday (Wednesday) in his address, the chief justice spoke about what he calls ‘Gupta-Zuma Capture,’ asking attendees when do they think it started. The comments by the chief justice have put the independence of the judiciary at risk. Judges, especially the head of the judiciary, must at all times maintain an image of impartiality so as to safeguard the integrity the judiciary and its independence,“ Tyali said.
According to the PAC, Zondo, who led the State Capture Commission of Inquiry has in the past uttered similar statements.
Tyali said as head of the country’s justice system, Zondo should know better than to spread matters of opinion instead of facts.
“The Chief Justice cannot be seen as taking it as a matter of facts issues that are likely to end up contested in the courts. Many of the allegations against the Gupta brothers and former President Jacob Zuma are likely to end up in our courts. The comments have compromised the integrity of any case that is to be brought to the courts in relation to the Judicial Commission into allegations of state capture,” the party said.
As such, the PAC has called on the Chief Justice to not descend into a political arena as he holds a very senior position that requires him to hold himself to a higher standard.
The party’s sentiments were echoed by legal expert, Mpumelelo Zikalala who spoke to Kaya FM about the negative picture Zondo’s statements painted in light of his authority as head of the country’s judiciary.
“There is a code of conduct issued by the Judicial Service Commission which specifies how judges should behave. According to Article, this applies to all judges. Article 11 talks about restraint that guides matters dealt with or pending in the courts says you are not allowed to comment on that matter but but must allow your legal representative to comment,” Zikalala said.