READER LETTER | Judicial officers critics must be sued
Populist attacks on judicial officers and the judgments they produce have become more conspiracy-fuelled and hysterical, particularly in politically charged cases.
Although this kind of speech, no matter how uninformed, is protected by section 16 of the constitution, but accusing a presiding officer of dishonesty and corruption, as Julius Malema did last month, should be prosecuted as it amounts to “scandalising the court”, an incident of contempt of court.
Malema claimed that magistrate Twanet Olivier interrupted her judgment to take instructions from Pravin Gordhan, Cyril Ramaphosa and Shamila Batohi about how to rule, and that she thus produced a “sponsored” judgment. He insulted her further by calling her a racist and incompetent magistrate who comes late at court.
Malema’s claims are self-serving and unsubstantiated. It is obviously false that the magistrate was told what to write by the trio he hates most in SA. These claims are intended to delegitimise the trial and its outcome, and to intimidate the magistrate into ruling in his favour, regardless of whether the state had proven its case against him or not.
Malema has also lashed out at those who criticised his utterances, Judges Matter and the ministry of justice, telling them to “voetsek ”. Malema has the right to criticise, but his criticism should be supported by reasons and based on the true facts. Presiding officers should sue any critic who makes false claims about them. The Rugby World Cup has shown us that blacks and whites can live in harmony as long as Malema and his evil EFF are out of the equation.
Bushy Green, Kagiso
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