Madonsela defends judiciary system

Madonsela said the country is not a lawless country, but a negative perception is growing.

FILE: Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said there is a growing perception that the rule of law is being eroded in South Africa.

Speaking in Sandton this morning, Madonsela said the executive should not be allowed to become more powerful that the other arms of the state.

Madonsela also discussed the judiciary and its independence.

Madonsela said the country is not a lawless country but a negative perception is growing.

"There may be a perception that the rule of law is eroded, so if that perception grows, that role of the judges is threatened and it's not good for democracy."

Madonsela said the executive has become too powerful.

"One judge was criticised for having said the executive is super powerful. Then it becomes important that Parliament works with us to clip, so to speak, the wings of the executive."

She's also warned that government cannot take part in civil disobedience and if it does not agree with the laws it should change them.

Madonsela is the latest high profile figure to join the chorus of those defending the judicial system in the country.

The office of the president has said President Jacob Zuma wants to reassert his own commitment to protecting the independence of the judiciary, as he plans to meet with Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

On Wednesday, Mogoeng said he had been mandated by the heads of the country's courts to ask to meet with Zuma to discuss recent attacks on the judiciary by African National Congress (ANC)-aligned politicians.

The last few weeks have seen claims by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko that judges take bribes.

Mogoeng said he also wants to discuss what would happen if court orders are not obeyed by government.

The Presidency said Zuma will attend to this matter as soon as he gets back from Russia, but that he is committed to the role of the judiciary as the final arbiter of disputes in society.

It also said Zuma wants to improve the good working relationship between the two arms of state.

Meanwhile, ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe said he can't answer questions about whether the ANC wants its deployees in government to obey court orders.

He said he welcomes the meeting.