President Cyril Ramaphosa has reiterated his condemnation of the attacks on the judiciary.
“All the citizens of South Africa are enjoined to respect, protect and promote our Constitution and the rule of law by respecting and protecting the judicial authority of our courts.
“This is important to ensure that our constitutional democracy continues to thrive,” President Ramaphosa said on Tuesday in Cape Town.
Participating in a Questions for Oral Reply session in the National Assembly, the President explained that the judiciary is an essential part of the democratic order.
“The Constitution clearly states that the courts are independent and subject only to the Constitution and the law, which they must apply impartially and without fear, favour or prejudice.
“I have often spoken out publicly against attacks on our judiciary. Unless supported by evidence, such claims undermine confidence in our courts and weaken our Constitutional order,” he said.
The President acknowledged that the Constitution guarantees of freedom of expression and opinion. However, he reminded South Africans that these freedoms should not undermine the Constitutional order, as this may lead to the erosion of trust in the judiciary.
Section 165(3) of the Constitution states: “No person or organ of State may interfere with the functioning of the courts”.
President Ramaphosa encouraged anyone who feels aggrieved by the conduct of any member of the judiciary to approach any of the relevant bodies to lodge a complaint.
“In the case of judges, this body is the Judicial Service Commission and in the case of magistrates, it is the Magistrates Commission. If the grievance is about a court’s decision, there are processes of review and appeal available.
“The Chief Justice is tasked with the development, implementation and monitoring of the norms and standards applicable to the Judiciary and therefore the Chief Justice can also be approached to ensure that the norms and standards are adhered to,” the President said.