Leaders of ATM and Al Jama-ah write to President to give input on Chief Justice nominees

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The  African Transformation Movement (ATM) and Al Jama-ah have written to President Cyril Ramaphosa to give their input on the nominees for the position of Chief Justice.

In his letter to Ramaphosa, ATM Leader Vuyo Zungula recommends that Supreme Court of Appeal President Justice Mandisa Maya should be appointed as the next Chief Justice, while Al Jama-ah Leader Ganief Hendricks says the Chief Justice who will be appointed should be strongly committed towards African Jurisprudence.

The letters from Zungula and Al Jama-ah to the President come after Ramaphosa recently submitted the names of four candidates to be considered by the Judicial Service Commission(JSC) and leaders of political parties represented in the National Assembly.

This came after a shortlisting panel headed by Judge Navi Pillay submitted its final report to Ramaphosa on 28 October. The panel, which was appointed by President Ramaphosa in September also scrutinised 564 public submissions made on the eight candidates who met the criteria.

Two of the eight nominees who met the criteria,  Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane and Dr Wallace Mgoqi withdrew their nominations. The remaining six nominees were Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe, Advocate Alan Nelson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, Constitutional Court Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga, Supreme Court of Appeal President Justice Mandisa Maya and Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo.

After considering the Pillay report, the President selected and submitted the four names of Maya, Zondo, Madlanga and Mlambo to the JSC and party leaders in the Assembly.

ATM Spokesperson Sibusiso Mncwabe gives various reasons why Maya is the best person for the top job:

” We are doing this on mostly three important grounds. One Judge Mandisa Maya has been a judge for more than 20 years now including that of being the President of the Appeals Court. But most importantly, she also has the age on her side. When we look at her age, she will be able to serve the ConCourt for the full twelve years as required by the constitution. Being 57 years old she is fit for serving the ConCourt for the full term, but again we have noted that she is the only female candidate shortlisted. Now if the President is serious about women empowerment, Black women in particular, then Maya is the relevant candidate.”

VIDEO: Mncwabe on Maya’s candidacy: 

Hendricks has described South Africa as a strong, believing, and diverse community in terms of culture, traditions, and religion. He says it is for these reasons that Al Jama-ah recommends that African jurisprudence for judges should strongly be considered. In the letter, Hendricks calls on the President to engage with the chief justice nominees about their stance on African jurisprudence before making the appointment.

AL-Jama-ah’s letter to Ramaphosa and the party’s opinion on African Jurisprudence below:

The race for the position of Chief Justice comes as  Judge Mogoeng Mogoeng’s 12-year non-renewable term as a Constitutional Court Justice came to an end on 11 October.

It remains unclear as to when the interviewing process by the JSC will start to search for the best candidate to lead the highest court in the land.