South Africa

Acting Chief Justice Zondo delivers stinging rebuke to Sisulu’s opinion piece

CAPE TOWN – Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says she has noted the comments made by acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, saying they would be engaged with at an appropriate time in an appropriate platform.

Zondo said on Wednesday that Sisulu had "crossed the line" with a controversial opinion piece on IOL that amounted to what he called “an unwarranted attack on the country's judiciary”.

He said the article, which referred to "house negroes", a term used to describe slaves who worked in the homes of their masters, was an insult to the judiciary and especially its black members.

Zondo described the views expressed in the article as "unacceptable", especially as they came from a senior member of parliament who had served on the executive since 1994.


Published just a few days ago, it has already attracted widespread criticism for portraying black judges as puppets, but Zondo’s rebuke, as the head of the judiciary, was stinging.

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He said no amount of intimidation nor bullying would stop the judiciary from upholding their oath of office.

“We accept that we may be criticised but we say criticism should be fair and have a proper factual basis, but this is not criticism, it is an insult to the justices of the Constitutional Court, the judges of the Supreme Court of Appeal, the judges president of the various divisions of the high court and all the African judges.”

In the piece, the minister slammed the Constitution by saying it had done nothing but keep the formerly oppressed masses in poverty.


Zondo said the article was without substantiation or any analysis of judgments handed down.

“I expect that as we move on, there will be more attacks on the judiciary and that the judiciary must be ready for these attacks. It seems to that, hardly a month – or about a month after judiciary day, Miss Sisulu has launched a completely unwarranted on the judiciary and has heaped insults on the judiciary,” he said.

Zondo said no further action was contemplated against Sisulu but he said it would be a pity if her conduct – unacceptable as an MP and a Cabinet member who swore to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law – was allowed to stand.

Government has distanced itself from the opinion piece, describing it as reckless utterances.

Artmotion S.Africa

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