The Ministry of Justice and Correctional has refuted claims by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) that there was something untoward with the communication between the Justice Minister Ronald Lamola and Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
The Ministry of Justice and Correctional says it has noted what appears to be a deliberate distortion of the appointment process of acting judges, of the Constitutional Court.
The ministry says to suggest that the process as prescribed by the Constitution is judicial capture or manipulation is untruthful.
“The insinuation that the minister sought to enhance the appointment-ability of a Chief Justice candidate by suggesting that the candidate be appointed to act in a vacancy in the Constitutional Court is designed not only to malign the minister but also undermine confidence in the judiciary.”
JSC Interviews | Justice Ministry clarifies process of the appointment of acting judges:
The statement follows EFF’s accusations on the African National Congress-led government of trying to manipulate the appointment of the new Chief Justice in South Africa.
This, as the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), just wrapped up the process of conducting interviews for the next Chief Justice, as per the request by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
JSC Interviews | Justice Raymond Zondo concludes a 12-hour hot interview:
The party has described as “shocking, unethical and deplorable” the revelations in between the interviewing process, that, there was an exchange of letters and phone calls between Lamola and Acting Chief Justice Zondo.
EFF National Spokesperson, Vuyani Pambo says, Lamola revealed this exchange in which he sought to influence the appointment of acting judge for the Constitutional Court in favour of Judge Dunstan Mlambo, who is also vowing for the top job at the Constitutional Court.
Pambo says the EFF will file a complaint against Justice Zondo to the JSC, so that he can be held accountable.
Zondo’s interview for the position of Chief Justice erupted into chaos late on Friday evening when JSC Commissioner Julius Malema and Lamola engaged in a shouting match.
At issue was whether it was right for Lamola to suggest to Zondo that Gauteng Judge President be allowed to act as a judge in the constitutional court.
Malema asserted that Lamola had done this in an effort to privilege Mlambo in the Chief Justice interviews a claim Lamola strongly rejected.
“Moegeng Moegeng writes to them, they don’t respond. They wait for him to go. Now, they know that the CJ is gone, you (Zondo) are now acting, we are going to look for ACJ, then they start responding to Moegeng Moegeng’s letter during your time.”
Lamola then interjected, saying, “No, Acting Chairperson. That is a lie. It’s a blue lie what Commissioner Malema is saying” – much to the ire of the EFF leader.
“No, but don’t say I am lying. What do you mean I am lying. Don’t say I am lying. That is disrespectful. If you are going to allow him to say I am lying, it’s wrong. I am on a platform here and I am not going to be called a liar.”
JSC Interview | Looking back at Julius Malema’s interaction with ACJ Zondo at the JSC Interviews: