South Africa’s Chief Justice Blasts Tourism Minister over Criticism of Judiciary

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South Africa’s Acting Chief Justice, Raymond Zondo, on Wednesday lambasted the country’s Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu, over her scathing criticism of the judiciary.

Sisulu had in an opinion article on January 7, 2022,  called for an overhaul of the justice system alongside economic reforms to address legacies of apartheid including poverty and land inequality.

The 67-year-old’s article emphasized the point of view of opponents of President Cyril Ramaphosa that are loyal to former premier Jacob Zuma. 

According to some South African media outlets, the comments indicate Sisulu plans to run against Ramaphosa during the ruling party’s leadership election in December.

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Sisulu has held various government positions since the nation’s first all-race elections in 1994.

The comments apparently angered Zondo, who retorted saying they were “unacceptable” because they weren’t based in fact.

“Sisulu has launched a completely unwarranted attack on the judiciary and has heaped insults,” Raymond Zondo told reporters Wednesday at a briefing. 

“I find this conduct from a senior member of the ruling party, a senior member of parliament and a senior member of the executive completely unacceptable and it would be a pity if it was allowed to stand.”

He added that Sisulu’s article was “no analysis of anything,” insisting that “it’s just accusations, insults to the judiciary.”

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Mondli Gungubele, the Minister in the Presidency, described Sisulu’s remarks as “reckless utterances” that grossly misrepresented the constitution.

Sisulu is also a member of the African National Congress’s National Executive Committee. She has served as minister of foreign affairs and defense in the past. She was Ramaphosa’s running mate in the party race in 2017 in which he was elected ANC president.

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