/ 11 August 2008

PAC says ANC aims to intimidate judges

The African National Congress is aiming to intimidate judges through its attacks on the judiciary, the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) said on Sunday.

”While the judges are no saints, the attack by the ruling party is worsening the situation,” said PAC secretary general Mfanelo Skwatsha.

”The accusation that judges are counter-revolutionary is aimed at intimidating them when they consider the [Jacob] Zuma and other high-profile ANC cases.”

On Sunday, the PAC concluded the first meeting since its July election of its national executive committee in Kempton Park.

Skwatsha said the NEC believed that attacks on the judiciary were ”merely for political expediency” and could not be supported.

”The current attacks on the judiciary do not address the inefficiencies in the justice system, perceived or real.”

ANC spokesperson Steyn Speed said the party did not wish to respond to the PAC’s allegations that they were trying to intimidate the judiciary.

On Sunday Skwatsha also said the NEC recommended that the processes used to appoint the chief justice, deputy chief justice and judges be reviewed.

”The appointment of chief justice and his/her deputy: Currently they are appointed by the president, who is himself a deployee of a political party. Under the circumstances, who would they be accountable to?”

Skwatsha said the Judicial Services Commission should appoint the chief justice and deputy chief justice, and not just make recommendations on the matter.

Judges should be appointed from the ranks of senior advocates and attorneys who have experience in the application and interpretation of the law, said Skwatsha.

When it came to ongoing allegations of corruption in the arms deal, the PAC NEC felt that a judicial enquiry into the matter was ”absolutely necessary”.

”Once this has been conducted, contracts found to have been secured corruptively [sic] should be revoked.”

Skwatsha said any one or any party found to have corruptly benefited should face criminal charges.

Companies that failed to deliver promised jobs should have their contracts reviewed by the government.

Skwatsha said the NEC had also discussed food security at its weekend meeting.

The NEC recommendations around the issue included that government should provide emerging farmers with support, subsidise food processes and assist families with food production units. – Sapa