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Judge Zondo grateful for help from whistle-blowers in work of state capture inquiry

Ernest Mabuza Journalist
Judge Raymond Zondo says if he is appointed chief justice, he will not see himself as a super judge, but a servant of the people. File photo.
Judge Raymond Zondo says if he is appointed chief justice, he will not see himself as a super judge, but a servant of the people. File photo.
Image: ELMOND JIYANE/GCIS

The work of the state capture inquiry would have been much more difficult had it not been for the investigative journalists and whistle-blowers who provided information, acting chief justice and inquiry chair Raymond Zondo said on Friday.

Zondo is the last of the four nominated candidates being interviewed by the Judicial Service Commission for the position of chief justice.

Zondo was responding to a question from commissioner Narend Singh about whether he was aware of threats to any member of the judiciary and whistle-blowers and what, if he were appointed, he thought should be done to protect them.

Threats against judges

Zondo said threats had been made against his family and himself arising from his work at the inquiry.

He said during the July unrest last year and for some time after that, there were threats made against judges in general and concerns voiced by judges.

Zondo said he convened a virtual heads of courts meeting and arrangements were made by police and other security agencies for some protection for justices of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal.

‘Protect those who uncover wrongdoing’

When asked whether the state was doing enough to protect whistle-blowers, Zondo said from what he read in the media, he was concerned about whether protection was given.

Zondo said he believed if SA were to have any chance of making a dent in corruption, it must ensure whistle—blowers and investigative journalists deserve protection.

A chief justice should be somebody of integrity who can provide intellectual leadership in the Constitutional Court and the judiciary
Acting chief justice and state capture inquiry chair Raymond Zondo

“The work of the inquiry I chair would have been much more difficult had it not been for the investigative  journalists and whistle-blowers. We are indebted to them. As a country, we should do whatever we can to provide protection to them,” Zondo said.

If appointed chief justice, Zondo said he would consider it a very high honour and privilege. He would not see himself as a super judge, but simply a servant of the people.

“I think a chief justice should be somebody of integrity who can provide intellectual leadership in the Constitutional Court and the judiciary.

“It must be somebody with a demonstrable track record as a judge. He should be somebody who is able to work with people and able to appreciate contributions of other leaders in the judiciary, such as heads of court.”

He said a chief justice must make a contribution to the development of the jurisprudence of the country.

The interview continues.

TimesLIVE


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