Quote of the week

The unhappy fact that it is journalists, investigating organs of state and officialdom and the political class and their involvement in corrupt practices to loot the State’s resources, who, by so doing, attract the attention of powerful and influential persons who are capable of suborning the apparatus of the State to smell out their adversaries, cannot be ignored. The examples of abuse of the system have been addressed elsewhere in this judgment. Moreover, the respondents’ perspectives assume that the designated judge is not lied to and is diligent… In my view, in the absence of a rebuttal, this example illustrates a grave vulnerability in RJCA that such an apparent abuse could occur. The common cause examples of blatant lies being told to the designated judge further exacerbates the vulnerability of the system.

Sutherland J
Amabhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism NPC and Another v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and Others
3 April 2007

Moseneke’s pay rise

Comments made about members of Parliament have been met with anger by the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) deputy Chief Whip Sybil Seaton. She took exception to Judge Dikgang Moseneke‘s “derogatory” comments about members of Parliament after he completed a review on the remuneration of public office bearers. News24 Reports:

Referring to increases given to MPs, Moseneke told a Sunday newspaper: “We found an ingenious way of getting MPs off their backsides to do some constituency work.” Seaton called his comments disrespectful and belittling of MPs. “Yes, there might be MPs who sit on their ‘backsides’ doing very little, but so too do some judges and magistrates,” she said.

The MP queried the review committee’s approval of “huge” increases for magistrates and judges. “So how does Judge Moseneke justify their increases? Will those massive salary increases help get the judiciary off their “backsides”? I don’t think so,” Seaton added.

It is rather interesting that Judge Moseneke reccommended a huge increase for himself and for the Chief Justice (more than 50% in each case). Is there not perhaps a conflict of interest here? Should he not at least have recused himself when his own salary was discussed? Then again, how many MP’s don’t spend most of the time on their “backsides” – is it 20 or maybe 30 out of 400? Can’t be much more.

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