Presidency responds to meeting request by Chief Justice

Mogoeng Mogoeng wishes to discuss relations between the executive and the judiciary arms of the state.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The Presidency has issued statement this morning that it has noted the request of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to meet with President Jacob Zuma to discuss "the concerns of the judiciary pertaining to relations between the executive and the judiciary arms of the state".

It says the president will attend to the matter as soon as he returns from the Brics summit in Ufa, in the Russian Federation.

"The president wishes to reassert his own commitment and that of the executive to the independence of the judiciary and its role as the final arbiter in all disputes in society, as well as to the further strengthening of the existing good working relations between the two arms of the state," the statement says.

On Wednesday, Mogoeng said the heads of the country's courts had asked him to meet Zuma over claims about judges by certain politicians.

Both ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe and SACP General Secretary Blade Nzimande have claimed judges are trying to sabotage government.

The pair, together with police minister Nathi Nhleko, have all strongly criticised the judiciary after a court ruled Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir should be arrested, an order which was defied.

Meanwhile, Mantashe said the ruling party welcomes plans for a meeting between Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and President Jacob Zuma about the recent attacks on the judiciary.

This morning, Supreme Court of Appeal president, Lex Mpati, said by ignoring or disrespecting court orders, South Africa finds itself on dangerous ground.

Mantashe is perhaps the most senior politician to have criticised the judiciary.

Mantashe said the claims they have made are not vague.

"We welcome the fact that the Chief Justice has made the request to meet with the president, I suppose there is development."

Mogoeng said he believed officials would think twice before disobeying more court orders.

"But if it were to happen that court orders are disobeyed going forward, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it."

BLA head Busani Mabunda said it was important for politicians to obey the law.

"We should guard against a situation where we use a political approach to trump justice."

To read Mogoeng's full statement, click here.