'Threats in corridors of power'

The DA's Tony Leon yesterday accused President Thabo Mbeki, ANC president Jacob Zuma, and Cape Judge President John Hlophe of "constitutional vandalism".

The DA's Tony Leon yesterday accused President Thabo Mbeki, ANC president Jacob Zuma, and Cape Judge President John Hlophe of "constitutional vandalism".

Addressing the Mizrachi Organisation in Cape Town, the former DA leader called for a government inclusive of "all talent" available.

The weekend's revelations about Hlophe suggested that he was a "sort of constitutional fifth columnist white-anting the twin and imperative notions of judicial independence and the separation of powers".

"This suggests that sometimes the greatest threats to the survival of key national institutions come from within their own ranks and not from the 'usual suspects' outside the institutional corridors of power," Leon said.

"On two previous occasions the Judicial Services' Commission has failed to take decisive action against this erring jurist, whose temperament, at the very least, is more reminiscent of a bull who has run out of china shops rather than the possessor of detached impartiality and the objective even-handedness that are the requisite hallmarks of those entrusted with high judicial office."

Mbeki himself, whose aloof detachment as an "absentee landlord" had attracted outrageous indignation from his suffering citizens, had been revealed as a " stranger and manipulator of the truth," he said.

"Quite what signals this will transmit in terms of the rule of law and public accountability remains both bewilderingly unclear and overwhelmingly negative." - Sapa

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