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By Chulumanco Mahamba

Digital Night Supervisor

‘They will get it in hell,’ Malema says to demand for apology to East London magistrate

Judges Matter issues a stern rebuke to EFF leader Julius Malema for accusations against Magistrate Olivier.

EFF leader Julius Malema appears reluctant to apologise for accusing East London Magistrate Twanet Olivier of corruption and incompetence last week.

“They will get it [an apology] in hell,” Malema said on X (formerly) on Monday in response to Judges Matter slamming the leader for his comments.

On Monday morning, the judiciary accountability organisation issued a statement condemning Malema for accusing Magistrate Olivier of corruption and incompetence without any substantiation.

“This is an attack on the judiciary, a threat to judicial independence, and almost certainly a violation of the Constitution,” the organisation said.

Malema on trial for discharging firearm in public

Malema and his bodyguard Adriaan Snyman are currently on trial at the East London Magistrates Court for illegally discharging a firearm in public.

In 2018, Malema was captured on camera allegedly firing what appeared to be an automatic assault rifle during the EFF’s fifth birthday celebrations at Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane.

On Thursday, shortly after a judgment was delivered on his unsuccessful application for the case to be thrown out of court, the EFF leader accused Magistrate Olivier of wrongdoing in how she prepared and delivered her judgment.

Judges Matter said Malema’s claims were not substantiated, and he didn’t offer any evidence to corroborate them.

“Mr Malema said nothing about the legal merits of the judgment. It’s therefore hard to see Mr Malema’s utterances as anything but an attack on Magistrate Olivier as a judicial officer and the institution of the judiciary,” the organisation said.

“It is also not the first attack against Magistrate Olivier, following a similar outburst after she dismissed a recusal application in February this year, which Mr Malema did not appeal.”

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Judges Matter added that although judicial officers are not beyond criticism, such criticism must be substantiated and measured.

Mbekezeli Benjamin, a researcher at Judges Matter, said that because judicial ethics restrain judicial officers from challenging attacks, Judges Matter comes out strongly in defence of judicial independence.

“Left unchallenged, Mr Malema’s comments will send a chilling message to other judicial officers that they should not dare issue judgments against powerful figures who command a large audience. We call on Mr Malema to immediately retract and apologise for his unfortunate comments,” Benjamin said.

In response to Judges Matter’s statement, Malema posted on X: “You can voetsek!”

‘You can voetsek’

Meanwhile, the ministry of justice and correctional service also joined in condemning attacks on judicial officials.

“Whilst it is permissible to criticise and debate the reasoning of judicial officers’ decisions, attacking their person and directing sensational conspiracy theories at judicial officers is not correct by anyone, let alone a member of the Judicial Service Commission,” the ministry said.

“We call upon all role players to ensure they uphold the independence of the judiciary by seeking accountability through established channels, not populist channels where no due process can be established.”

“You can voetsek small bedwetting boys,” Malema said in response to the statement.

READ ALSO: Court denies Malema’s bid to have gun charges withdrawn