Give us more names Mr President: FF Plus
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The Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) on Sunday called on President Jacob Zuma to submit more nominations for the appointment of a new chief justice.
Zuma has nominated Judge Mogoeng Mogoeng for the post left vacant by Judge Sandile Ngcobo’s retirement earlier this month.
Some opposition parties have strongly opposed Mogoeng’s nomination on the grounds that he lacks the necessary experience, especially on constitutional issues.
Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesperson Dene Smuts said the party would only comment on Mogoeng’s nomination when DA leader Helen Zille gave Zuma her reply on Mogoeng’s suitability for the chief justiceship and after the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) had had an opportunity to interview the nominee.
The DA also called for a public interview with Mogoeng after Zuma announced him as his nominee for chief justice.
The African National Congress (ANC) and its allies, on the other hand, have thrown their weight firmly behind Zuma’s choice.
Lack of consultation
FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder said it was a constitutional requirement for the leaders of opposition parties to be consulted when such an opinion was made.
‘Judge Mogoeng Mogoeng has already been presented in the media as the president’s choice as new chief justice. Are political leaders really being consulted with the possibility of the president changing his choice in the light of our comments or are we merely being informed in order to pass it off in terms of the Constitution?” Mulder asked.
He said it was not fair towards Mogoeng to criticise him without an alternative choice being clear.
There should be a healthy tension between the legislative, executive and judicial authorities, he said.
Mulder criticised ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe’s remark that some judges were hostile to Parliament.
“Some of these comments are strong reminders of the previous government’s comments in the fifties when there had also been a clash between the government and the highest courts,” said Mulder.
This made it necessary to give “extra thorough consideration” to the appointment of a chief justice, he said.
JSC closes the book
On Saturday, the JSC said it would not call for further nominations for the position of chief justice.
“The JSC will convene a meeting to which it will invite the nominee of the president to submit to an interview for the purpose of determining the suitability of that candidate to be appointed as chief justice,” JSC spokesperson CP Fourie said.
September 3 has been proposed as the date for the public interview.
Various law bodies, including the General Council of the Bar of South Africa, the Law Society of South Africa, the Magistrates Association of South Africa and the department of justice and constitutional development will be asked to make written submissions on Mogoeng’s suitability for the post.—Sapa.