South Africans need to be made more aware of aspects of the law and justice to appreciate democracy, President Jacob Zuma said on Saturday.
He was speaking at the funeral of KwaZulu-Natal Chief Justice Herbert Msimang, at Hilton College near Pietermaritzburg.
“We need to raise awareness about key judicial concepts, about people being innocent until found guilty, the need to listen to both sides of a dispute and the right to appeal,” he said.
Delivering the eulogy, Zuma referred to the impact of rumour and trial by media.
He also called on the media to “extend knowledge about our judicial system far and wide”.
Zuma and other speakers praised Msimang for his efforts to give ordinary people greater access to the judiciary, and his work on transformation.
Zuma also acknowledged Msimang’s innovation towards ridding the courts of backlogs.
The late judge threw out Zuma’s corruption case in 2006, saying the state’s case “went from one disaster to another” and had failed to follow proper guidelines.
Also in attendance were Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, his predecessor Pius Langa, Msimang’s predecessor, Vuka Tshabalala, Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize and Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille. – Sapa