Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Fake news hit the judiciary

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Jul 23, 2021

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Johannesburg - The judiciary has been hit by a flurry of fake news reports, which has forced it to clarify the wave of disinformation in the past two weeks.

The latest is a list circulating on social media, purportedly containing judges shortlisted for judicial vacancies by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

However, the JSC has moved swiftly to distance itself from the list.

”The JSC has since learned that some of the candidates listed on that list have unfortunately received congratulatory messages for being on the JSC’s shortlist. The JSC wishes to clarify that the list circulating in various media platforms was not published by the JSC,” the commission said.

The JSC said its screening committee, which was tasked to prepare a shortlist, would sit on August 11 to compile a shortlist.

”It is only after this meeting that a shortlist of the candidates to be interviewed at the JSC’s October sitting will be published by the JSC,” it said.

The fake list has been circulating on social media and was published on news websites this week.

Last week, the Office of outgoing Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng was forced to distance itself from an article shared via the message service WhatsApp and other social media. The article claimed to be written by Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. The article is critical of the ANC and its leader.

Chief Justice Mogoeng’s office insisted it had not been not written by Justice Zondo but by a columnist from another online news platform.

”Members of the public and media are requested to contact the Office of the Chief Justice to verify the authenticity of any article, communication, or social media post that purports to be that of a judge before attributing statements made on any platform to a judge,” requested the office.

Earlier this month, the Office of the Chief Justice warned members of the public and social media network users of a parody Twitter account purporting to be that of Justice Zondo with the handles @BraZondo and @ZondoCommission.

It categorically stated that the acting chief justice did not have a Twitter account nor had an account been created for him by the Office of the Chief Justice.

”The views expressed on the parody Twitter account do not represent those of Acting Chief Justice Zondo nor that of the South African judiciary,” said the Office of the Chief Justice, urging the media to verify the authenticity of any social media account purporting to be that of a judge.

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Political Bureau

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