President Jacob Zuma is consulting the Chief Justice and political party leaders on the appointment of a new Constitutional Court judge, the presidency said on Thursday.
"The president has requested that the Chief Justice and the leaders of political parties furnish him their views and comments for his consideration, by no later than 16 July 2012," the presidency said in a statement.
There is a vacancy on the Constitutional Court bench since former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo retired late last year.
In terms of the Constitution, the president must consult the Chief Justice and political parties before appointing Constitutional Court judges.
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) had shortlisted three Supreme Court of Appeal judges – Lebotsang Bosielo, Mandisa Maya and Robert Nugent – and acting Constitutional Court judge Raymond Zondo for the vacancy.
Zuma was "in the process of giving consideration to the candidates referred to him by the JSC", the presidency said.
He must advise the JSC if any of the nominees are unacceptable.
On Wednesday, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said Zuma had heeded calls to consult more extensively.
"Significantly, President Zuma seems to have conceded to three of the requests we made," Zille said.
"This is an important step towards real and meaningful consultation."
She said Zuma had asked for consultation and submissions on all four candidates on the shortlist, not just his preferred choice as in the past.
Zuma also gave opposition leaders a more reasonable period of 12 days to revert back to him.
"Previously he had asked for consultation only at the very last moment, when his mind was seemingly already made up. The important change of heart opens the door for consultation on judicial appointments to become a meaningful endeavour."