Pikoli condemns ANC's criticism over judiciary

Vusi Pikoli says recent comments made by ANC leaders about the judiciary go beyond criticism.

FILE: Commissioners Kate O'Regan and Vusi Pikoli speaking to Brigadier Dladla in Khayelitsha on 24 January 2014. Picture: Rahima Essop/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Western Cape Police Ombudsman Vusi Pikoli says recent comments made by ANC leaders about the judiciary go beyond criticism and are blatant attacks which focus on the personality of the judges instead of the issues being contested.

Yesterday Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng met with President Jacob Zuma to discuss perceived attacks on the institution.

The president said court orders should be obeyed after a series of claims by ANC-aligned politicians that judges were guilty of over-reaching.

The comments were sparked by the high court's decision ordering government not to allow Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir to leave the country.

After the meeting Zuma said in a joint statement that both stakeholders reaffirmed the independence of the judiciary and agreed to be careful when making public statements about each other.

Pikoli says a series of unfavourable judgements against the government may have irritated the executive.

"Nobody is saying that judgement can't be criticised but going to the personalities of the judges is totally unacceptable. Any government wanting court to go their way, they get irritated."

At the same time, Pikoli says the relationship between the judiciary and government is becoming 'unhealthy'.

But he says he's not worried yet that the rule of law is at risk.

"There are worrying signs and we should heed these signs and look at these issues more carefully and with much more sensitivity."