Yengeni asks JSC to probe Zondo ‘for singing for his lunch’

ANC veteran Tony Yengeni has filed a formal complaint with the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) against Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, accusing him of unduly meddling in the governing party’s factional politics and campaigning for President Cyril Ramaphosa for a second term.

Zondo, who was chairperson of the commission into allegations of state capture, submitted a series of reports to Ramaphosa in which he made adverse findings against several high-profile ANC leaders who have been fingered in enabling the capture of the state by the Gupta family.

In a complaint seen by Sunday World yesterday, Yengeni has taken Zondo to task for remarks in which he said had  Ramaphosa not been elected the organisation’s president at the party’s elective conference in Nasrec in 2017, more damage could have been done to the National Treasury, which fell under former cabinet minister Malusi Gigaba.

“In December 2017, Mr Ramaphosa was elected as the president of the ANC and in February 2018 president Zuma reluctantly resigned as president of the country and Mr Ramaphosa was elected as president of the country.

“Mr Gigaba was dropped from cabinet and president Ramaphosa returned Mr. Nhlanhla Nene to the position of minister of finance,” said Zondo in his report.

Yengeni said Zondo’s remarks constituted a gross violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct and are designed to influence the outcome of the forthcoming elective conference in December in favour of Ramaphosa.

Yengeni wants the JSC to force him to withdraw the remarks and apologize.

“First and foremost, I am not aware which witnesses presented the testimony on the basis of which this political finding is made. Even if such testimony was presented, such a finding is unjustified if such testimony was never tested by way of cross-examination. It is therefore inappropriate for a judicial officer to make such a subjective finding without real evidence.

“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 has moved me to lodge this complaint,” according to Yengeni’s complaint.

Yengeni also disagreed with the notion that Ramaphosa’s new dawn has saved the country. “South Africans are worse off today than they were before the election of the current president of the African National Congress. The unemployment rate has increased markedly, South Africans are facing unprecedented incidents of power outages, causing massive (preventable) losses to business and avoidable inconvenience to ordinary citizens.”

He added that the crime rate against women and children sharply increased, corruption – even with Ramaphosa’s cabinet and in his office – was rampant. He also said even Ramaphosa was himself implicated in corruption at the commission.

Yengeni tore into Zondo and accused him of singing for his supper. “Arguably, to me as an ordinary person not schooled in matters of law, it would not be unreasonable to suppose that the chief justice may very well have made the pronouncement crediting the current president with saving South Africa from ‘further damage’ in order to advance his own interests.

“His report comes barely a month after he had been confirmed as the country’s new chief justice. This makes me wonder, as an ordinary person, whether this was not one of the conditions for his appointment as the new chief justice,” reads the complaint.

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