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At each period of intense factional conflict in the governing ANC in recent years, SA’s judiciary has been the go-to whipping boy for besieged political leaders.

It was this way in the lead-up to Jacob Zuma’s presidency, when Gwede Mantashe, then ANC secretary-general, accused the Constitutional Court judges of being a “counter-revolutionary force”. And in 2011, SACP leader Blade Nzimande spoke of “judiciary dictatorship” after the courts found against Zuma...

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