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Objections are no obstacle: Mogoeng Mogoeng's a shoo-in

Staff Reporter, Sapa-AFP

Despite objections to Mogoeng Mogoeng becoming chief justice, the Zuma-friendly Judicial Service Commission is unlikely to reject the president's man.

Despite the large number of submissions objecting to President Jacob Zuma’s nomination of Constitutional Court judge Mogoeng Mogoeng to as that court’s next chief justice, the former North West judge president goes into Saturday’s Judicial Service Commission hearing almost guaranteed of the position.

Several legal insiders who spoke to the Mail & Guardian suggested it was unlikely that the JSC’s members would be persuaded to reject the president’s choice, even if Mogoeng were given a grilling on a range of issues ranging from dodgy judgments on issues ranging from rape to suspected homophobia.

The 23-person JSC panel interview—a Constitutionally required part of the consultation process between the president and the JSC—has on all previous occasions since 1994 endorsed the president’s choice.

The JSC is also, generally, weighted in its make-up with people sympathetic to the thinking of the executive.

The JSC’s interview of Mogoeng, where he is likely to be grilled on issues ranging from his views on gay rights, the death penalty and contentious rape rulings he has previously delivered, will culminate in members voting by secret ballot if they support the president’s choice.

Of the 23 who will sit tomorrow, three will already be ANC members in national Parliament, four (including Black Lawyers Association chairperson Andiswa Ndoni and Advocate Dumisa Ntzebeza) were appointed by Zuma, while another four are members of the National Council of Provinces.

Add Justice Minister Jeff Radebe to the mix and the JSC is likely to enter tomorrow’s deliberations with a 12-11 majority already behind the president’s choice.

At midday on Friday JSC spokesperson said he had received “around 23 submissions” relating to the interview process.

Meanwhile, Mogoeng has responded to the storm of controversy surrounding his appointment, in a 38-page reply to the JSC.

Reacting to a series of negative submissions about his nomination, Mogoeng insisted that he is neither homophobic nor gender-insensitive, nor is he inexperienced or lacking in judicial ethics, the Mercury reported on Friday.

Mogoeng went into detail about rape cases he had presided over and where he had imposed or confirmed substantial periods of imprisonment

“These cases… clearly demonstrate that I am not insensitive and lenient to criminals when it comes to gender-based violence, as alleged,” he is quoted as saying.

President Jacob Zuma has nominated Constitutional Court judge Mogoeng Mogoeng as the new chief justice. For more news on the controversy surrounding the proposed appointment visit our special report.

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