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President Ramaphosa ought to keep these attributes in mind when appointing the new Chief Justice

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President Ramaphosa ought to keep these attributes in mind when appointing the new Chief Justice

Image of President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa

17th September 2021

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The DA welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s new approach in replacing the outgoing Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng whose term ends on 11 October 2021, by calling on nominations from the public.

The DA has been calling on the President to follow a similar process of appointment of the new Chief Justice to the process adopted by former President Nelson Mandela in the appointment of Chief Justice Ismail Mahomed in 1996. Former President Mandela also called for independent nominations and fostered a transparent appointment process.

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The DA encourages the public to make full use of this opportunity and submit their nominations after truly applying their minds as to who would be best suited to serve justice in South Africa. It should be kept in mind that the statutory requirements for a Chief Justice in terms of Section 174 and 176 of the Constitution are:

  • An appropriately qualified woman or man who is a fit and proper person and a South African citizen;
  • The nominee must be a judge at the time they are appointed to the Constitutional Court; also
  • Remember that a Constitutional Court judge holds office for a non-renewable term of 12 years, or until they are 70 years old, whichever occurs first, except where an Act of Parliament extends the term of office of a Constitutional Court judge.

The following attributes should be non-negotiable in Chief Justice nominees:

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  • Someone with at least 10 years experience on the Bench;
  • Experience in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) and/or the Constitutional Court;
  • An unblemished record of integrity – moral fortitude;
  • Managerial exposure;
  • Suitable qualifications;
  • Respect of their peers;
  • Able to modernize the judiciary while staying true to its mandate; and
  • Be able to restore the integrity of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and maintain discipline and disciplinary processes within the JSC.

All nominations, together with the required supporting documents, must be sent to angeline@presidency.gov.za and cjnominations@gcis.gov.za by 1 October 2021, and must include:

  • A nomination letter, including the contact details of the nominator;
  • The nominee’s acceptance of the nomination and their contact details;
  • Letters of support for the nomination, including contact details of persons or entities that support the nomination, including at least one letter of support from a professional body of legal practitioners, non-governmental organisation working in the field of human rights, or other legal field; and
  • Any additional documentation that the person nominating the candidate for Chief Justice deems relevant.

Issued by DA Shadow Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Glynnis Breytenbach

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