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I'm Makhulu baas'

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MBABANE – Acting Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi yesterday slammed the media and judges for their roles in the issue of the questioned court roll and reminded them that he was in charge.

This he said in a strongly worded speech at the opening of the High Court.
Ramodibedi told a packed courtroom that there can only be one Chief Justice at a time and therefore this cannot be contested by any judge.

Online encyclopedia describes baas as an Afrikaans word meaning boss, while Makhulu means big.
“Needless to say that we cannot all be Chief Justices at the same time. As I have said before, and as I repeat now for emphasis, there can only be one Makhulu Baas at a time. In case some people did not know, the position of acting Chief Justice is a constitutional one. It is not subject to contest by any judge. It is a person which automatically falls to the senior most judge in the Supreme Court and not in the High Court. This is so in terms of Section 153(2) of the constitution.”

Ramodibedi said he therefore failed to understand how any High Court judge could contest the position as such was impossible because the constitution was the supreme law of the country.
“Indeed all the judges have sworn allegiance to the constitution. I need hardly remind them, therefore, that they have a duty to protect the constitution and not oppose it,” the acting CJ stated.

Ramodibedi, who is acting in the CJ position due to the fact that incumbent Richard Banda is indisposed, said it was astonishing to read in the newspapers that there was a power struggle in the judiciary.

Banda said: “This may explain why suddenly the acting Chief Justice is portrayed by one journalist as lacking credentials or as a confused man. This, simply because he dared call the judges to order.”
Ramodibedi delivered his 20 page speech in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku, Cabinet Ministers Jabulile Mashwama, Mgwagwa Gamedze and Ntuthuko Dlamini.

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