The Congress of the People (COPE) says the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has been politicised and has overstepped its mandate regarding its role in the appointment of the country’s next Chief Justice.
The party’s spokesperson, Dennis Bloem, spoke to the SABC on the sidelines of a two-day Congress National Committee meeting that will outline COPE’s programme for the year.
COPE has echoed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s sentiments that the JSC exceeded its mandate by recommending Justice Mandisa Maya for the position of Chief Justice.
The party has accused the JSC of playing politics and says its recommendation is contrary to the country’s constitution.
On Wednesday, Ramaphosa told journalists that despite the JSC’s recommendations, the prerogative rests with him.
COPE National Spokesperson, Dennis Bloem says the JSC is not looking at the interests of the country.
“The JSC has become a political football, where you don’t look at the interests of the country. That recommendation by the JSC is contrary to the constitution that they must propose names to the president, not one name. In other words, they are telling the president that this person must be appointed as Chief Justice.”
COPE laments the turning of the Judicial Service Commission into a ‘political football’:
COPE also remains steadfast that South Africa’s Constitution must not be amended to allow for Land Expropriation Without Compensation.
The party says while the constitution protects private property, it adequately allows for land to be expropriated in the public interest. It says the failure to take land reform forward is due to a lack of political will on the part of the ANC.
Bloem says that there needs to be a Codesa-like meeting on land.
“The solution to the land problem is that we must have a Codesa of all the people of South Africa to sit around a table and work out a way forward. It does not help that we are divided into groups. What we are saying is that we must mobilise each and every stakeholder into a Codesa and discuss the land issue. That’s the only solution. If political parties want to politicise this issue there will never be a solution.”
This will be a crucial year for the party as it will hold its provincial and national congresses.
“We are looking at the health of the party, what is going on in the party, in the structures because we are having representatives of all nine programmes. We will also present a programme of action for the entire year. We are also planning very hard to have our provincial provinces and after everything, we will have our national congress.”
COPE says it will also take stock of its performance in last year’s local government polls and come up with a plan of action to grow the party ahead of the 2024 national polls.
JSC recommends Justice Mandisa Maya as next Chief Justice: