South Africa: When Malema, Mogoeng & Gordhan Went to the Bar


The dust kicked up by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng's statement about a comment made to him in 2016 by Pravin Gordhan over a judicial appointment, brings particular attention to the relationships between politicians and judges in the elite circles of our society. The entire issue, however, may have been hijacked by those involved in long-running disputes with Gordhan.

It should not be surprising to anyone that politicians and judges in our society know one another. What matters is how these relationships are managed and whether any court rulings are affected by these relationships.

For the moment, there is no evidence that any ruling has been affected by such a relationship in the recent past.

There is a reason why Judicial Service Commission (JSC) interviews often reveal such important developments, and why they become the subject of conversation.

There is perhaps a general perception that judges and politicians do not interact, that they mind their own lanes and deal with their own issues. In the case of judges, there is a legal obligation not to get involved in any political controversy; it is for this reason that their public statements outside of their judgments are usually so circumspect (although there is...

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