The Council for the Advancement of the Constitution (CASAC) says it is hopeful that the re-run of interviews to fill two vacancies in the Constitutional Court will focus on the merits of the candidate rather than political or personal agendas.
The interviews began this morning and are scheduled for the rest of the week. The interviews were initially done in April, but were challenged by among others, CASAC, on the legality of the criteria that should be applied.
CASAC’s Lawson Naidoo says thus far the process seems to be proceeding much more fairly.
“Well we certainly hope that the JSC would have heeded the lessons from the April round of interviews, that they would have heeded the concerns that we would have raised in our court challenge and ensure that this round of interviews is conducted in the spirit of the constitutional requirements. The significant responsibility that the constitution places on the JSC to interview and recommend candidates for judicial offices. We’re comforted certainly by the little bits of the interviews that I watched this morning, the process seems to be proceeding much more smoothly than it did in April. Whilst the questioning has been robust on occasions, it is directed at issues that are directly pertinent to a candidate’s fitness to hold judicial office.”
The Judicial Service Commission Constitutional Court interviews:
The process closed on 1 October. President Cyril Ramaphosa invited nominations to promote transparency and encourage public participation.
The term of the current Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng ends next Monday. Naidoo has welcomed the transparent nature of the process in ensuring a suitable shortlist.
“We certainly welcome the initiative that the President has taken to establish an independent advisory panel to assist him in shortlisting those candidates and recommending to him a shortlist of candidates that will be suitable for appointment. And then the President will then consider that shortlist and consult with both the JSC as well as the leaders of political parties in the National Assembly before making his final decision. But we do believe that the open, transparent nature of the process is likely to give us a shortlist of candidates who are imminently suitable to take on the challenges of the next Chief Justice.”
Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s interview for the Chief Justice post in 2011: