'Ms Sisulu has insulted us': Zondo takes a swipe at minister for insulting the judiciary

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has drawn flak from acting chief justice Raymond Zondo. File photo.
Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has drawn flak from acting chief justice Raymond Zondo. File photo.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

Acting chief Justice Raymond Zondo has seemingly called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to take action against tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu for “insulting the judiciary”.

Zondo said, in a press briefing on Wednesday, that Sisulu had hurled insults at the entire judiciary, especially black judges, in her article published last week titled “Hi Mzansi, have we seen justice?”

It was in this article that Sisulu questioned black judges, saying, among other things, that they were “mentally colonised Africans who have settled with the world view and mindset of those who have dispossessed their ancestors”.

Zondo said the article was riddled with baseless accusations which can only be viewed as insults and that it would be disappointing if no action was taken.

He said the judiciary cannot tell the executive what to do when one of its members had done what Sisulu had done but that he found her conduct “completely unacceptable and it would be a pity if it was allowed to stand just like that”.

According to Zondo, Sisulu's article was “rich in insult but very poor in substantiation and in any analysis because it does not refer to any judgments that judges have given which have been analysed to produce the conclusions that she produces”.

The judiciary was not saying that it could not be criticised, Zondo said, but Sisulu's article could not be classed as criticism.

“It is very important in this country that we draw the line on conduct that is acceptable and conduct that is unacceptable.

“As I said, we as the judiciary do not say we should not be criticised but criticism should have proper basis. Ms Sisulu has insulted us. And we as the judiciary have done [nothing] other than doing our job,” Zondo said.

He said it would be acceptable if such views were being expressed by a young and inexperienced person but not by someone who has been in the executive for so many years.

“That such a senior member who serves in two of the arms of the state — parliament and the executive — to see fit to insult the justices of the Constitutional Court, the judges of the Supreme Court of Appeal and judges of the high courts, particularly black judges, because she focuses on them, is most regrettable.”

He said he had looked at all the sentences in the article and found no substantive facts to warrant the insults.

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