South Africa’s courts should not be used to fulfil agendas or as mechanisms for opposition parties which were unable to resolve their issues politically, according to the African National Congress (ANC) chairperson in KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala.
Zikalala, who is also the province’s MEC for economic development, was speaking outside the Durban High Court on Monday after an ANC march protesting against what it termed “judicial overreach” and what the party has called the “frivolous” use of the country’s courts by opposition parties.
Joining Zikalala was KZN premier and ANC deputy provincial chairperson Willies Mchunu, Durban mayor Zandile Gumede, who is also the chairperson of the ANC in the eThekwini region, and religious leaders.
Police told the African News Agency (ANA) that about 1 000 ANC supporters took part in the march.
“We see opposition parties in parliament using the courts to oppose things they failed to resolve using political means in parliament, undermining parliamentary procedure,” Zikalala told the cheering crowd.
“There is a growing observable trend by the courts to act and play in a big brother role where in some cases – it’s not many cases – the courts find themselves encroaching [on] the terrain of other organs,” he said.
“The courts are encroaching on the political side as if they have greater powers than parliament,” he said, and should resist being used to fulfil the agendas of “others”.
“If the courts continue on this path, they will undermine our democracy. For that reason, the judgement by Judge Valley must be reversed and the judge must be recalled, because he shows that some judges have political leanings which they use to make unfair decisions.”
“The actions of the judge in favour of the DA have disgusted and upset us,” said Zikalala.
Judge Bashier Valley last week ordered that president Jacob Zuma reveal the reasons and record of decision he used in firing former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas. The application was brought by the Democratic Alliance.
On Monday, the Constitutional Court was debating if the Constitution allows for Parliament to have a secret ballot in a motion of no confidence in Zuma. The motion was called for after Zuma fired Gordhan and Jonas, which was rapidly followed by rating agencies downgrading the country to junk status.