Flawed justice system or corrupt individuals?

South Africa has been deemed as one of the countries with the best justice system to be found within a democratic country. Having its root from the Roman- Dutch law, South Africa’s justice system therefore comprises of an amalgamation of principled legal system. The practices of South Africa’s justice however tend to differ from that which is written on paper.




This article questions whether there are flaws in the South African justice system or perhaps corruption has infiltrated the justice system itself. The article questions the way in which South Africa as a developing country deals with corruption and fraudulent practices committed at the highest level. In doing so, the focal point of this article will be on Zuma’s battle against corruption.

All around the world, corruption has been a thorn in the side of democracy. In all democratic states, and mostly developing states, corruption has dawdled the success of democracy. If not given attention, corruption can even become detrimental to the democratic system. Given this, it is fundamental that countries deal with this thorn in the most radical way possible.




In recent years, South Africa has seen more and more political leaders implicated in corrupt practices. From the Zondo Commission, to state capture enquiry, to the public protectors reports to court cases and so forth. What is quite intriguing about all this is that no one has ever seen any political leader in orange overalls serving for all the offences which they have committed. Yet the constitution of the Republic of South Africa stipulates that ‘No One is above the law’, whether it be the president or political leaders and elites.

For more than 14 years, there has been one case after another where the former President of the republic of South Africa was implicated in. This dates back to the period where Jacob Zuma had occupied the office of the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa. What is intriguing about all of this is that before being the President, the cases which he had been implicated on got delayed and somehow got scoffed under the train. During the terms of his presidency, various scandals unveiled relating to corruption and fraudulent practices.




We have seen such being published by the Public Protector. In some instances, we have seen the former President appearing in court. On the contrary, the former President has never been to jail, neither has he served any sentence in confined spaces after the dawn of democracy. A year after his resignation as the President of the republic of South Africa, Zuma still battles against the corrupt practices which he has been implicated on. On the 20th of May 2019, the former President appeared in court. In his appearance his lawyer argued that the delays in prosecuting the Former President of the Republic has nothing to do with him, but the blame should be placed entirely on the courts. In doing so, He (Zuma’s lawyer) further argues that the delay on prosecuting the Mr Zuma was politically inclined and so is the recent urgency for Mr Zuma to be prosecuted.




Is the South African justice system flawed or is it filled with corrupt individuals? According to Deila Ferreira Rubio cited by Selko (2019) articulates that ‘’Corruption is much more likely to flourish where democratic foundations are weak’. Is the South African democratic foundation weak? Will justice ever be served or politicians are simply above the law?

Article by Tsakisani Machebe (Political Commentator)

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