Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema says the party supports Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe for the position of the next Chief Justice.
Malema was speaking to the SABC in an exclusive interview on the party’s election manifesto.
SABC News political editor Mzwandile Mbeje speaks one on one with Malema:
Hlophe is among eight nominees selected by members of the public for the position.
In 2008, Constitutional Court Justices Bess Nkabinde and Chris Jafta said Hlophe had personally tried to convince them to give judgments in favour of then President Jacob Zuma on two cases that implicated him in corruption.
President Cyril Ramaphosa recently called for public nominations for the position that becomes vacant on the 11th of this month.
Malema says Hlophe did nothing wrong.
“I think in that list, he’s the highly qualified, the best legal brain, a man of integrity and honour. This thing that they are talking about, about Judge Hlophe, it’s nonsense. That which Hlophe did is a general practice in the judiciary, they talk about cases. Hlophe was not the first one to talk about cases. He presided over the most difficult division of the judiciary called the Western Cape, not only difficult, the most racist with a racist government. Even in Parliament, we will never vote with them to impeach Hlophe. We will never do it. There is nothing wrong Hlophe did.”
Other political parties on the nominations
Some political parties in Parliament have weighed in on the nominees for the position of Chief Justice. The Presidency published a list of eight nominees on Monday.
The eight are Judge President John Hlophe, Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga, Justice Mandisa Maya, Dr. Wallace Mgoqi, current Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, Advocate Alan Nelson, and Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
The public has until 15 October to raise objections.
“Looking through names, some are currently undergoing inquiries, the trust would be concluded soon so that there is no prejudice to nominated candidates or those considering the nominations,” says Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) Chief Whip Narend Singh.
African Christian Democratic Party’s Chief Whip Steve Swart says; “There are a few surprise nominations, which will elicit objection, and there are equally strong and suitably qualified candidates. I look forward to engaging with the process going forward.”
ANC Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina says the individuals nominated for the position of Chief Justice are solid jurists.
Majodina says the nominees are impressive.
“The eight nominated are very dignified South Africans from legal and sound backgrounds, credentials are clear. Now it is for time for the public to make their voices clear. Solid team, they deserve it.”
The public has made a total of 148 submissions for nominations for the next Chief Justice. The nominee panel chose eight names of people who met the criteria from a list of 25.
The criteria include having the requisite experience as a legal practitioner, as well as letters of support for the nomination.
A nominee should be a person who is suitable to be a Chief Justice in terms of their experience both as a legal practitioner, including experience as a judge and as a leader.
The nomination should include letters of support, including at least one such letter from a professional body of legal practitioners, nongovernmental organisations working in the field of human rights, or other legal fields. – additional reporting by Zalene Merrington