Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to use his State of the Nation Address on Thursday to "send a clear signal that attacks on judges have to stop."
In a statement and in a separate videotaped appeal from his office, the Archbishop said the country would "descend into chaos" if judges were not respected. He appealed to the President to "draw a line on the sand" over attacks on the judiciary.
The full text of the statement follows.
"Mr President, if judges are not respected in South Africa, we're going to descend into chaos. When you speak on Thursday, you speak not as leader of the ANC, but as the leader of the nation.
"I appeal to you, out of respect for the Constitution and the rule of law, please send a clear signal that attacks on judges have to stop. It would give confidence to the judges that they can do their jobs without interference, and it would give confidence to all of us.
"It is critical to the future of our nation that we keep our hands off the judicial system. The courts must be respected. And we must give the NPA space to do their work in a thorough, unrushed way, so that we don't have botched convictions which are overturned on appeal."