Zuma and Mdluli lawyer agree - it's all a conspiracy
THE utterances of Ike Motloung, lawyer for suspended police intelligence boss Richard Mdluli, would be farcical if they were not so scary.
In opposing the Freedom Under Law application for a court order interdicting Mdluli from returning to work, Motloung claimed that the organisation, along with other NGOs, was bent on taking down the government and its president, Jacob Zuma.
Motloung said the order, if granted, would set a dangerous precedent.
He appears to be asserting that the real reason for the litigation is to bring down Zuma .
These negative remarks about NGOs, traditionally viewed as a vital part of civil society, find an echo in recent worrying comments by senior ANC leaders about the judiciary and its role.
The accusation is that there is an intention by the courts to undermine the decision-making authority of the executive and the president.
In a November speech, Zuma said the executive, "as elected officials, has the sole discretion to decide policies for government".
In February, he said: "We don't want to review the Constitutional Court, we want to review its powers. [This] is after experience that some of the decisions are not decisions that every other judge in the Constitutional Court agrees with."
Next came the announcement of a review of the powers of the Supreme Court of Appeal and of the Constitutional Court.
In response to Motloung's claims in the Pretoria High Court yesterday, Treatment Action Campaign leader Zackie Achmat warned of "dangerous arguments" and of a smear campaign against NGOs.
Post-apartheid South Africa, with its constitution as its foundation, is meant to be a space in which contestation and engagement may be freely entered into.
What the ANC government is doing is shutting down that space - and offering conspiracy theories as a means of deflecting criticism.