Sunday World

Why Ramaphosa chose Zondo

The President creating stability in judiciary

- By George Matlala

President Cyril Ramaphosa chose Raymond Zondo as the country’s chief justice to do away with the precedent set by former president Jacob Zuma of snubbing a deputy when appointing the leader of the country’s judiciary.

Ramaphosa also did not want to appear to be caving in to the pressure created by Judicial Service Commission (JSC) commission­er Dali Mpofu and EFF leader Julius Malema for him to appoint Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) President Justice Mandisa Maya as the first female chief justice.

This is according to those close to Ramaphosa at the Union Buildings and Luthuli House.

On Thursday, Ramaphosa announced the appointmen­t of Zondo as the fourth chief justice in a democratic South Africa and indicated that he would nominate Maya as the deputy chief justice when the position becomes vacant. The JSC had recommende­d Maya as chief justice.

A source close to Ramaphosa said the president wanted to bring stability to the judiciary by breaking with the precedent of not appointing a deputy. In 2011, Zuma appointed Mogoeng Mogoeng to lead the judiciary, snubbing then deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke.

“If you look at how Moseneke was snubbed, his seniority was disrespect­ed. Mogoeng took a long time to adjust and get rid of the perception that he is a Zuma man. Zondo is acting already, you now have continuity.”

Another source close to the president said Malema and Mpofu’s views and line of questionin­g appeared to have sullied the JSC’S recommenda­tion of Maya to become chief justice. “If you bring in Maya, you might have a Mogoeng situation,” he said.

The source in the Presidency said Zondo’s handling of the commission of inquiry into state capture had shown his mettle.

“The JSC was just supposed to say who is appointabl­e. This is about bringing stability. Why should you be appointed as deputy and then ignored when it comes to the position of chief justice?”

JSC spokespers­on Mpofu said the commission had reiterated the president was not compelled to follow its recommenda­tion or the recommenda­tions made by the leaders of political parties.

“He was only compelled to consider all the views expressed by them before making a decision. Assuming that he did duly consider everything presented to him, then his decision cannot be faulted as it would be in line with the requiremen­ts of the constituti­on,” he said.

The EFF rejected Zondo’s appointmen­t as short-sighted, factional and uninspirin­g.

“In what can be described as a reward for treating Ramaphosa with kids gloves at the commission, despite him presiding over cadre deployment and being tasked with the revival of state-owned enterprise­s as deputy president, and secondly not implicatin­g Ramaphosa or his son in the state of capture commission reports, Zondo has been appointed as chief justice,” the EFF said.

The JSC was just supposed to say who is appointabl­e. This is about stability

 ?? / GCIS ?? By choosing Raymond Zondo as the new chief justice, President Cyril Ramaphosa is seen as moving away from the precedent set by former president Jacob Zuma of snubbing a deputy.
/ GCIS By choosing Raymond Zondo as the new chief justice, President Cyril Ramaphosa is seen as moving away from the precedent set by former president Jacob Zuma of snubbing a deputy.

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