Madlanga insists he has leadership experience required to become Chief Justice

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Constitutional Court Judge Mbuyiseli Madlanga has rejected any suggestion that he does not have the leadership experience required to take over as Chief Justice. Amongst his achievements, Madlanga has told the Judicial Services Commission, is his record as the Chairperson of the Exchange Control Amnesty Unit.

Madlanga was responding to a question by African National Congress Judicial Services Commissioner Thamsanqa Dodovu, who expressed concern that Madlanga’s seemed to lack experience in leadership.

The unit did not only grant amnesty to people who had contravened Exchange Control Regulations in expatriating their assets, but also facilitated the disclosure of assets worth R68,6 billion and raised R2,9 billion in levies.

The disclosure of offshore assets resulted in an estimated R1.4 billion increase in the tax base.

“To those who seek to emphasise the idea that I lack leadership, I don’t, and having started an entity like this in an area that was completely foreign to me and I led it to success, how much more will I be able to perform in an area that I have grown up.”

The Judicial Services Commission has been conducting interviews for the Chief Justice position.

Part 2 of Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga’s Judicial Services Commission interview:

Madlanga insists that he possesses the qualities to lead the country’s apex court.

“I was Acting Judge President in Mthatha. I was for years a member of the executive committee of the Transkei Society of Advocates and then secondly, I later became its chairperson for two terms and I could only have been retained because there was a feeling that I could lead. Thirdly, for three years, I was the Deputy Chairperson of the Competition Tribunal, which is an entity that is as good as a court. Fourth, before my appointment to the Constitutional Court, I was chief evidence leader for the Marikana Commission leading a team of seven counsel.”

Separation of powers among arms of state

Madlanga says if there is a need to engage Parliament’s Justice and Correctional Services Committee on issues of common interest, he will do so if appointed Chief Justice.

This was another question on the issue of separation of powers between the judiciary and the other two arms of the state.

Committee Chairperson and Commissioner Bulelani Magwanishe brought up this question: “How would you strengthen relations between the Judiciary and Parliament, particularly the Portfolio Committee of Justice and Correctional Services?”

,Madlanga responded,  “Nothing beats interaction, I would definitely try to engage when there is a need, when it is necessary to engage and discuss matters of common interest, because the committee and the judiciary are both concerned with issues of justice.”

Modernisation of the judiciary

Madlanga says if he were to be appointed Chief Justice he would move the courts to an online system in order to modernise the judiciary. But he bemoaned the lack of resources in the country further adding that the high levels of inequality and poverty would pose a challenge to the modernisation of the courts.

“One would have said, the best is court online as described earlier, but I immediately said there are problem areas. In the so-called developed world, court online works like a gem, also everybody has access to these things but the problem is resources.”