The assurances from the learned silk is coming at a very defining moment, when the country is grappling with a lot of corruption cases and investigation into state capture of inquiry.
Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng says the judiciary will never be captured and contends that the executive should not play a role in the appointment of judges and other court officials – nor interfere with the running of the courts.
Mogoeng made these remarks during television station eNCA’s In Conversation with Chief Justice in which he reflected on the state of the judiciary as the country entered its 25th anniversary of the post-apartheid dispensation.
He was adamant that of the three pillars of state (executive, legislative and the judiciary), the judiciary was least corrupt and incapable of being captured by corrupt businesses or politicians.
“I think it would take a very weak and corrupt judge or magistrate to be captured,” he said.
Judges receive full salaries and increases even after they retire up until their deaths. He said the state “went out of its way” to ensure that judges were very well paid.
“So what possible reasons would any principled person be so weakened by a desire for more to the point of compromising the principles that are so fundamental to the sustenance of SA as a constitutional democracy? So there’s a very, very slim possibility of that happening.
“The judiciary as a collective has not been captured but I cannot vouch for every individual. But I can confidently say the overwhelming majority of the judges are incapable of being captured,” he said.