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Johannesburg – Questions about the recently leaked emails purportedly showing ties between government, President Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family, were shut down by ANC NEC member Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Sunday.
“I would want us to not respond to this matter of the emails,” said Mapisa-Nqakula.
She was speaking in her capacity as a member of the ANC’s NEC’s subcommittee on peace and stability, which was briefing the media in Johannesburg on the peace and stability discussion document ahead of the ANC National Policy Conference.
She suggested that the matter “really has nothing to do with our work as the peace and stability committee”.
Mapisa-Nqakula said: “When we deal with that issue, it should be dealt with in the context of issues of cyber security…”
She said when it came to “specific cases which had come out in the media…we leave it until this matter is properly investigated and we establish the authenticity of the emails.”
NEC member and Justice Minister Michael Masutha then commented on court cases lost by the state.
He suggested that while, at times, government officials could have avoided judicial action, there were also perceptions of biased judges.
“Sometimes, as executives, in the decisions that we make and the procedures that we follow, we expose ourselves to judicial scrutiny, in circumstances where we could have done things a little bit differently.”
On the other hand, he said “there are perceptions that there are judges who just hate government and who will pass judgment at the slightest provocation against government.”
Adding that he did “not want to get drawn into having to postulate on the veracity, or otherwise, of those perceptions”, nevertheless, “you, yourselves may be aware of judgments on appeal where higher court judges have reprimanded…their own colleagues for the manner in which they conducted proceedings…
“The judiciary itself has acknowledged flaws in itself.”
Turning to the matter of judicial overreach, Masutha said it “remained a highly contested territory” and an “ongoing challenge”.
Dig deep! SA's finest investigative journos trawl through truckloads of dot -connecting Gupta emails. HUGE crimes demands HUGE consequences.
— Peter Mansfield (@Peterman43) June 6, 2017
Masutha also said that it was hoped that a hate crimes bill, which would allow criminal recourse against racism, would come before Parliament before the end of the year.
“[We are] pleased with the positive response from the public”, he said indicating that there had been thousands of responses thus far.
Commenting on perceptions of xenophobia, Mapisa-Nqakula suggested that members of the subcommittee “don’t believe South Africans are xenophobic”.
The fact that there were “intermarriages and interrelationships” between South Africans and foreigners was one aspect of proof against this, she said.
As such, when attacks against foreigners arose, “it’s like a family: when you have issues the immediate [reaction] is to vent out anger towards the weakest”.
She also laid the blame for these incidents of violence on “people who whip people’s emotions, agent provocateurs… [who want] to ensure there is tension between communities and government or between people themselves.”
These people “need to be talked to”, she said.
The ANC has been holding a number of briefings to report back on its various policy documents ahead of its policy conference later this month.