South Africa: Manuel's Sideswipe At the Judiciary Could Hurt Us All

analysis

As a battle rages, sometimes a dangerous attack can come from a supposed ally - an attack that comes as a worst of surprises. Such was the case with Trevor Manuel and his sideswipe at the judiciary.

Over the past few months it has become clear the judiciary, and in some cases, individual judges, are coming under attack from political elements. Until now, it appeared that those doing the attacking were people with something to fear of a fully functioning criminal justice system.

But last week a broadside has come from a surprising source and it is likely to be used against both judges and the perpetrator of the attack, Old Mutual chairman Trevor Manuel. This illustrates how, as political divisions in the country sharpen, judges will be caught in the middle, which could weaken their legitimacy and lead to much greater problems in the longer term.

If there is a battle raging in any field, sometimes the most dangerous attack can be one that comes from someone deemed an ally - an attack that comes as a surprise. This appears to have been the case with Manuel on Friday 13 September.

The press conference he called was no doubt...

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