Our judiciary is becoming a joke

Rhoda Kadalie says the JSC’s
obsession with race means
the bench is being packed
with lowest common denominator judges
I watch the case of Judge President of the WC, John
Hlophe, with fear and trepidation for the future of this
country. This man and his henchmen will single-handedly
destroy the independence of the judiciary if only to exact
revenge. Their wounded egos are more important than
safeguarding one of the most sacred institutions in our
young democracy.
That the two major witnesses, Constitutional Court
judges, Chris Jafta and Bess Nkabinda, refuse to appear
before the Tribunal exposes this trial for what it is – a
race war the source of which is/was to protect both the
president and Hlophe. Hlophe’s relentless pursuit of
settling scores against those who expose his
misdemeanours, not least his questionable relationship
with Oasis Investment Company, is also to protect his
longevity on the court.
This infuriating saga portrays in microcosm what is being
played out at the International Criminal Court, absolving
African leaders from forms of criminal liability thus
creating a rampant culture of impunity for which the
continent has become so well known.
The first female Chief Justice of California, Rose Bird,
wisely stated, decades ago that "The judiciary must not
take on the coloration of whatever may be popular at the
moment. We are guardians of rights, and we have to tell
people things they often do not like to hear." Hlophe
more than anyone should know, that that also includes
the president. The law is no respecter of persons, but
here in the SA some of our new judges have made it an
industry to protect black power, black self-enrichment,
and blackness itself. Their vested interests have become
more important than their vocation as the guardians of
rights and the rule of law.
And so our judiciary is under threat of becoming a real
joke. I for one do not take it seriously and my trust has
been eroded a long time ago, not least when the Judicial
Services Commission (JSC) acted so comically with the
appointment of Judge Mogoeng Mogoeng in full view of
the public. Not to mention the JSC’s obsession with race-
rather than merit-based appointments to the Judiciary,
making us the laughing stock of the world and reducing
our august institution into a collection of lowest common
denominator judges.
Worse, there is not one mediocre judge who rejected a
post in favour of those better qualified than they. This
lack of self-doubt is what is wrong with SA and is the
reason this Hlophe versus the-rest-vendetta has been
going on for 5 years.
Blackness, under the guise of transformation, is being
seen by the powers that be as the only necessary and
sufficient condition for appointment hence municipalities
are littered with people who cannot do the job, and who
lack the technical, engineering and artisanal skills. Even
they know that they are political appointees when
confronted with the realities of providing sanitation,
infrastructural development, waste management, and the
provision of water and electricity and get up to all kinds
of mischief to hide the incompetence, hence the corrupt
consultant industry.
Hlophe’s judicial bun-fight mirrors almost exactly what
goes on in many institutions and layers in South Africa.
Everywhere little and big race battles supplant issues that
matter and have crippled many institutions from
functioning effectively. A weakened judiciary produces a
state in which the rule of law becomes increasingly
fragile and it slowly induces a fear in the minds of the
public that the rule of law in SA is indeed fragile.
Maintaining checks and balances on the power of the
Judiciary Branch and the other two branches is vital to
sustain a constitutional democracy. But here the checks
and balances themselves are tainted.

Source: www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page72308?oid=429587&sn=Marketingweb+detail&pid=90389

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