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The judiciary came under attack this week from supporters of Jacob Zuma, who accuse KwaZulu-Natal High Court Judge Dhaya Pillay of an error of judgment in her decision to issue a warrant of arrest against him. An unprecedented frenzy of remarks from Zuma followers filled the social media space and the news, with attacks on Pillay’s approval of the warrant and claims the judiciary as a whole was being paid to fix judgments. The Zuma followers, notorious for venting their anger against the judiciary and even threatening public violence when the courts found against their hero, claimed state prosecutor Billy...
The judiciary came under attack this week from supporters of Jacob Zuma, who accuse KwaZulu-Natal High Court Judge Dhaya Pillay of an error of judgment in her decision to issue a warrant of arrest against him.

An unprecedented frenzy of remarks from Zuma followers filled the social media space and the news, with attacks on Pillay’s approval of the warrant and claims the judiciary as a whole was being paid to fix judgments.

The Zuma followers, notorious for venting their anger against the judiciary and even threatening public violence when the courts found against their hero, claimed state prosecutor Billy Downer was politicising the case. They did not elaborate on this.

Statements came from the ANC Women’s League, Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) regional structure in Sedibeng, Gauteng, and ANC Youth League (ANCYL) structures in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Western Cape.

The first salvo against the judiciary was fired by ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini, a former Zuma Cabinet minister and one of his avowed backers. She questioned the judiciary’s stance, saying its “conduct must always be above reproach”.

She asked for the country, the ANC and “true leaders” to stand up and defend the revolution by not allowing for Zuma’s ill-treatment.

ANCYL Limpopo provincial secretary Nyiko Bembani alleged judges were paid lump sums of money ahead of the ANC Nasrec conference in order to influence the outcome of ANC-related court cases.

“We cannot avoid the fact that Pillay has relations with the conniving Pravin Gordon (sic),” Bembani said. “We are therefore doubting her credibility to conduct herself in the interest of justice and the interest of the people of our country.”

ANCYL KwaZulu-Natal provincial secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo said the court decision was a “clear indication that Zuma would not get a fair trial”, saying Zuma’s rights were being violated and the warrant of arrest was meant to humiliate him.

Sabelo said the league would mobilise society to stand up to defend Zuma against “this unwarranted attack on our hero”.

Dlamini said the case had been ongoing for almost 15 years, during which time Zuma “had never tried to evade justice”.

“We have observed that the same treatment against president Zuma is not meted out to his other co-accused in the same case.

“The courts are very sweet to them. The judiciary must not turn itself into a public opinion arena. Its conduct must always be above reproach.”

Dlamini was excluded from Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet, along with a host of other Cabinet ministers who served under the Zuma administration.

Her latest statement came after Zuma supporters in KwaZulu-Natal threatened to destabilise the country if the former state president was arrested.

Dlamini said the merits of the case were a discussion for another day and that “our eyes are wide open and we can see what is happening”.

The MKMVA Sedibeng region in Gauteng, which rarely issues public statements, this week accused Judge Pillay of having “erred” and “capitulated” to pressure by the National Prosecuting Authority.

MKMVA Gauteng regional secretary Titus Mpondo described the decision as a “gross violation of the work of our judiciary” and said the MKMVA would defend the ANC leadership from abuse by the state and those who used the apparatus of the state to divide the ANC.

“Downer has clearly made this trial political. The National Prosecuting Authority must not be used and abused for narrow political objectives,” Mpondo said.

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