The ruling party is under fire after a photo of Deputy Chief Justice Mandisa Maya was used on a poster that is currently circulating on social media.
The poster, with a photo of the deputy chief justice in her official constitutional court garb, calls on South Africans to register to vote for the ANC.
The office of the chief justice was quick to put on record that Maya’s photo was used without her permission and that the deputy chief justice is not a member of any political party.
“The Office of the Chief Justice wishes to point out to the public that this inappropriate use of the Deputy Chief Justice’s photo on an election campaign poster was not authorized by Deputy Chief Justice Maya or the Office of the Chief Justice.
“For the record, Deputy Chief Justice Maya is not a member of the ANC or any other political party. Article 12(1)(a) of the Code of Judicial Conduct prohibits judges from belonging to any political party.”
The office also points out that this unauthorized use of the Deputy Chief Justice’s photo has the potential to unnecessarily bring the judiciary into disrepute and undermine the integrity of the judiciary.
“Those responsible for this unauthorized use of the Deputy Chief Justice’s photo are expected to immediately remove it from all online platforms where it was published, and to publicly and unreservedly apologize to the Deputy Chief Justice for this unfortunate incident. “
The ANC has since apologized to Maya.
“The ANC is sorry for any offense given to Deputy Chief Justice Mandisa Maya when a poster with her photo was placed on our X account without her consent.
“We wanted to celebrate the significant progress and transformation that has been made in all areas of society, including the judiciary, where Judge Maya is widely respected.
“The ANC apologizes unreservedly to the deputy chief justice for this mistake,” reads the party’s apology.
Adv. Glynnis Breytenbach, DA shadow minister of justice and constitutional development, says an apology alone will not be able to erase the serious damage caused by such actions.
“The ANC’s blatant disregard for the independence and credibility of the judiciary is a matter of great concern.
“The DA calls on the ANC to show maturity and emotional intelligence in their production of marketing material. The use of a photo of one of the most senior office bearers in South Africa for political gain is not only disrespectful to the Deputy Chief Justice personally, but also poses a significant threat to the overall credibility of the judiciary.”
Breytenbach then praises the office of the chief justice for their swift action.
“It is crucial that public figures, especially those holding high judicial offices, are protected from unjustified political exploitation.
“The ANC must be held accountable for this misuse of the deputy chief justice’s photo and their disregard for the credibility of the judiciary as a whole. The DA strongly condemns this incident and calls for a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the creation and distribution of this offensive poster.”