It’s racism, says Malema about attempts to remove him from JSC

'Indian cabal' to blame, says EFF leader

10 June 2021 - 16:35
By Kgothatso Madisa
EFF leader Julius Malema's questioning of judge Dhaya Pillay during the recent Judicial Service Commission interviews is one of the reasons why the Council for Advancement of the SA Constitution wants him removed as a commissioner at the JSC. File photo.
Image: ALON SKUY EFF leader Julius Malema's questioning of judge Dhaya Pillay during the recent Judicial Service Commission interviews is one of the reasons why the Council for Advancement of the SA Constitution wants him removed as a commissioner at the JSC. File photo.

EFF leader Julius Malema believes attempts to remove him from the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) are fuelled by racism.

The Council for Advancement of the SA Constitution (Casac) wants Malema removed as a commissioner at the JSC over what it says are attacks on the judiciary and because of his conduct during interviews.

“We view the campaign by Casac to remove the president of the EFF from the Judicial Service Commission as a racist attempt to continue the influence of the Indian cabal on the judiciary,” Malema said at a media briefing on Thursday.

“In essence, Casac is fighting for [public enterprises minister] Pravin Gordhan’s friend, who was rejected by an open and transparent process of the JSC, to be reimposed on the judiciary.”

Casac has filed court papers to declare the JSC shortlist of candidates for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s consideration for positions at the Constitutional Court to be declared invalid and set aside because of the “unlawful manner” in which the interviews were conducted.

They argued that the manner in which some candidates were questioned, including judges Dhaya Pillay and Piet Koen, went above what was allowed. Pillay did not make it to the shortlist.

During the interview process, Pillay was grilled by Malema and chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng over her friendship with Gordhan, with Mogoeng recalling how Gordhan had previously asked him: “How did my friend Dhaya Pillay perform?”

Mogoeng also recalled how Koen was rude to him at a 2016 meeting about cost-cutting measures of the judiciary. Mogoeng said he was concerned this is how Koen treated advocates who appeared before him.

In its court papers, Casac argued that some questions went beyond probing whether judges were fit for office.

On Thursday Malema said the EFF would join the case to argue against Casac’s attempt to declare the shortlist invalid.

“Accordingly, the EFF has briefed its own lawyers to join the Constitutional Court case initiated by Casac. We’ll defend the decision of the JSC to exclude Jamnadas’ [Gordhan] friend,” Malema said.

“We’ll also defend the principle of the separation of powers. The court must not decide for parliament which individual must serve in the JSC.”

Malema said he always asked tough questions at the JSC and had not only done so with Pillay.

“Casac called for my removal in the JSC because I asked unpleasant questions. But since I arrived there, which is what you are not telling them, I’ve been asking questions the same way I asked that Indian lady. What is so special about that Indian judge?

“The only speciality is that she is friends with the president of the Natal Indian Congress, Pravin Gordhan,” Malema said.

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