Moseneke warns SA courts risk becoming overly politicised

Former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke was speaking at the annual Helen Suzman lecture on Thursday evening.

FILE: Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke delivered his last judgement as a judge in the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg on 20 May 2016. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – Former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke is warning the country’s courts risk becoming overly politicised, if matters continue on the current course.

Moseneke delivered the annual Helen Suzman Lecture, at the Gordan Institute of Business in Johannesburg on Thursday evening.

He reflected on Helen Suzman’s life and her defiance against the apartheid system and her visits to Robben Island to check on the well being of political prisoners.

The former deputy chief justice says in a democracy, courts should have sufficient cases addressing social justice issues such as poverty and inequality.

“That is true also of many costly commissions of inquiry instituted by government, and headed by judges, only to give respite to differing political and state functions.”

Meanwhile, President Jacob Zuma says civic rights organisations are inviting the courts to run the country.

He’s filed his legal papers in response to the application brought by Freedom Under Law and the Helen Suzman Foundation, who want National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Head Shaun Abrahams and fellow prosecutors Sibongile Mzinyathi and Torie Pretorius to be suspended over the handling of the prosecution of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

In a letter sent to Abrahams on Monday, Zuma tells the prosecutions boss that the NPA is an important constitutional institution in the administration of justice and maintaining public confidence in the institution is of necessity.

The president has given Abrahams until 28 November to make these submissions.

Additional reporting by Mandy Wiener

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)