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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

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Tony Yengeni lambastes Zondo for political meddling in his report

11/08/2016. Tony Yengeni seen during a break at ANC NEC at St George Hotel in Irene. Picture: Masi Losi

11/08/2016. Tony Yengeni seen during a break at ANC NEC at St George Hotel in Irene. Picture: Masi Losi

Published May 14, 2022

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Durban - ANC NEC member, Tony Yengeni, has written to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to investigate Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s conduct for alleged breach of the Code of Judicial Conduct related to comments made in the fourth part of the Zondo Commission report.

Yengeni wrote to the JSC, claiming that Zondo was in breach of the Code of Judicial Conduct, for stating in the report that Cyril Ramaphosa’s election as ANC president at the party 54th national elective conference in December 2017 in Nasrec had saved the party from more damage.

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In the fourth part of the report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, Zondo, who chaired the commission, said more damage could have been done if Ramaphosa was not elected.

“Had it not been for the fact that at the end of 2017 the ANC would have an elective conference where Mr Ramaphosa, who was already Deputy President of the ANC and the country, would stand as a candidate to take over from Mr Zuma, more damage could have been done to the National Treasury under Mr (Malusi) Gigaba than may have been done,” reads paragraph 232 of the fourth part of the Zondo Commission report.

Yengeni says that the remarks amount to political meddling and that the conclusion by Zondo was troubling in many respects.

He said Zondo was in breach of article 12(1)(b) of the Code of Judicial Conduct which says: “A judge must not, unless it is necessary for the discharge of judicial office, become involved in any political controversy or activity”.

Yengeni said that Zondo was also in breach of article 12(1)(d) which says: “A judge must not use or lend the prestige of the judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others”.

“First and foremost, I am not aware which witness(s) presented the testimony on the basis of which this political finding is made,” Yengeni said.

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He said that this “subjective finding” demonstrated that the Chief Justice was a foray into intra-party politics, a gross violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct and, quite dangerously, may have the effect of fanning factional fires within the ruling party.

Yengeni said that this may influence delegates’ political voting patterns at the ANC’s elective conference in December 2022.

“When a Chief Justice, no less, says a candidate for the Presidency of the ruling party saved the country from ‘more damage’, that political comment carries significant political weight with voting delegates and potential political donors. This is what has moved me to lodge this complaint,” Yengeni said.

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He further stated that Zondo had no factual basis to make the claim that Ramaphosa’s election in December 2017 had “saved the ANC from more damage” and requested the Judicial Conduct Committee to require Zondo to withdraw the words and issue a written apology to the nation for his conduct as drafted by the Conduct Committee.

The story will be updated with comments from the Office of the Chief Justice and the Judicial Service Commission when it is obtained.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE

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