'They can voetsek': Malema responds to KZN advocates' 'poor treatment' complaint

EFF leader Julius Malema.
EFF leader Julius Malema.

EFF leader Julius Malema has responded to the members of the KwaZulu-Natal Society of Advocates who, in their personal capacities, slammed the treatment of two judges at the recent Judicial Services Commission (JSC) interviews.

On Thursday, Malema responded to the complaint, saying, “They can voetsek”.

82 members of the society lambasted the treatment judges Dhaya Pillay and Piet Koen received during their interviews last month, saying it was in an “unfortunate manner”.

“Overall this statement is advanced out of a concern that on account of the JSC interviews, the public may perceive that the two judges are somehow not worthy of their judicial positions,” said the members. 

“We think we have a duty to correct any such perceptions because, in our experience of appearing in court before them, there is no foundation to them.”

Pillay applied for a post on the Constitutional Court, and was grilled by Malema, who is a member of the JSC representing his party, and chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, regarding her friendship with finance minister Pravin Gordhan.

Malema said Pillay was “part of Gordhan’s faction” and “nothing but a political activist”.

Malema asked Pillay if her relationship with Gordhan enhances the image of the judiciary.

“Do you think it enhances the good image of the judiciary to have judges befriending politicians?” asked Malema.

In her response, Pillay said Gordhan was someone she had “known for a long time” and they were both “activists from Durban”.

“My association with him has never affected my work and will not, going forward. I have made judgments against the Treasury and against Sars and it has never been a problem,” she said

After the grilling session, Pillay did not make the cut, along with Gauteng judge David Unterhalter and senior counsel Alan Dodson.

Mogoeng accused Koen of being rude to him at a meeting to discuss cost-cutting measures in the judiciary in 2016.

“You were one of the leading voices in that meeting. It was one of the most unfortunate meetings a judge should ever have and I am putting that in the lightest possible way,” said Mogoeng.

“I left the meeting deeply concerned about how the judge president will ever be able to run a division like that. I was deeply concerned how you treat the advocates that appear before you. Litigants and witnesses, and members of the public.”

Koen apologised and said his intentions were not to be rude.

“Perception is important and if it was construed as such, I am very saddened and I apologise unreservedly,” he said.