Opposition backs Moseneke for chief justice

Three opposition parties on Tuesday urged President Jacob Zuma to reconsider his nomination for chief justice and give the job to Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.

In a joint statement, the Democratic Alliance, the Congress of the People and the Independent Democrats said Moseneke was “a more suitable candidate” and a “wise and humble jurist” with a fierce commitment to the independence of the judiciary.

The three parties again accused Zuma of failing to consult them before making public his nomination of Constitutional Court Judge Sandile Ngcobo for the post earlier this month.

For this reason, they said, they were putting out a statement giving their views rather than communicating them to the president in private.

“We would have done so formally to the president had we been properly consulted from the start. But since he failed to do so, precluding us from participating in that process, we will indicate our preferred candidate publicly.”

They said Moseneke had effectively been an understudy for the post for the past four years.

“He has worked closely with Chief Justice Pius Langa, gaining even deeper experience in relation to the Constitution that Moseneke himself was involved in drafting.

“Justice Moseneke has been groomed for the position of chief justice for four years and has all the experience required for it.
He is a judge of impeccable standing, and has a proven track record of fierce commitment to judicial independence.”

The parties went on to suggest that his firm stance on the independence of the judiciary caused him to fall foul of the ANC and be overlooked by Zuma for the post.

“It is this final point which may well have caused him to fall out of favour with the president.”

Moseneke is reported to have remarked at his 60th birthday party: “It’s not what the ANC wants or what the delegates want; it is about what is good for our people”.

The DA, Cope and ID wrote to Zuma earlier this month, saying he had ignored the Constitution by only inviting their comment “retroactively” after nominating Ngcobo.

In their letter, to which he has not responded, they asked him to restart the process.

The deadline the president gave the opposition to comment on his nomination expired on Monday and was ignored by the parties.—Sapa

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