The public nature of the quest to find SA’s next Chief Justice is important: Mpofu

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Judicial Services Commissioner Dali Mpofu says the public nature of the quest to find South Africa’s next Chief Justice is important.

Interviews for the position of the country’s top judge have commenced in Sandton, Johannesburg.

The Judicial Service Commission will first interview Constitutional Court Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga.

He is one of four candidates and is up against now Acting Chief Justice, Raymond Zondo, Gauteng Judge President, Dunstan Mlambo and Supreme Court of Appeal President, Mandisa Maya.

Mpofu says that the process is open to the public to watch on various platforms and allows different sectors of society to make their input.

He says, “The founders of our Constitution saw it fit to design a structure like this,  which has Members of Parliament who represent not just the ruling party but proportionally other smaller parties to have officials of government. The Minister sits here, a representative of judge presidents, to have some representatives of some civil society organisations such as the Attorney’s Profession and the Bar, academics are represented, some may argue that it’s not sufficiently representative for instance there is no representative of trade unions but I think it’s a good start.”

JSC Interview | Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga:


Research and advocacy officer for the organisation Judges Matter, Mbekezeli Benjamin, has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to act with urgency after the Judicial Service Commission’s interviews for the position of the country’s Chief Justice are completed.

Benjamin says the appointment of a new Chief Justice is long overdue.

“So, the interviews will continue for the rest of this week and then the JSC will meet and decide on who they prefer as a candidate. They can choose one. They can choose all of them, but they’ll have to communicate this decision to the President and then the President will take the ultimate decision on who becomes Chief Justice. There are no strict timelines in terms of the law, but it has been well over 100 days since we last had a permanent Chief Justice, so the President needs to act quite quickly.”

VIDEO: Benjamin and Senior Researcher from the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit, Chris Oxtoby, discuss the four shortlisted candidates: