The EFF has accused acting chief justice Raymond Zondo of “effectively trying to outlaw political commentary” in his stinging response to an article by tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu.
Zondo said, in a press briefing earlier on Wednesday, that Sisulu had hurled insults at the entire judiciary, especially black judges, in her article published last week titled “Hi Mzansi, have we seen justice?”
But the red berets hit back with a scathing response, charging that Zondo’s criticism of Sisulu “lacked substance and purpose” and added that the minister was “far better placed to assess the social and political conditions in this country as someone tasked with that responsibility.
“She has therefore in her political assessment factored in the shortfalls of the judiciary in economic, social and political change in the country. The response by Zondo is therefore not only a waste of our collective time, it is misguided, misplaced and only serves to prejudice minister Sisulu and those who hold public place in our society, who may hold similar views as her.”
The party claimed Zondo was “effectively trying to outlaw political commentary by those who reside within the legislature and that must be rejected with the contempt that it deserves. To critique the law and the failures of its custodians does not make one a lawbreaker.
“The only logical conclusion is that he is attempting to stifle minister Sisulu’s political commentary because it is opposed to his vested interests in assuming the office of the chief justice.”
The EFF went on to liken the acting chief justice to an attention-seeking Barry White.
“In our view, there is no difference to what Sisulu and Barry White are doing. Sisulu is campaigning to become the president of the ANC and Barry White is campaigning to be the chief justice of the Constitutional Court.”
By responding to Sisulu through a press conference, the party charged, Zondo had effectively ruled himself out of ever presiding over matters that involve or relate to the minister as a government official, MP or private individual.