Chief Justice nominee Mogoeng Mogoeng says Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke is not his friend, but is more like a big brother.
Mogoeng told the Judicial Services Commission, which is interviewing him for the chief justice post, that he and Moseneke related “strictly as colleagues”.
“We have never developed a friendship or anything of the kind.
“I look up to him as an older brother rather than someone I would look to as friend.”
Mogoeng said he had admired Moseneke since he was “a young boy”.
“He is a man I have lived to admire. I remember when he was the deputy president of the PAC (Pan Africanist Congress). I met him at Atteridgeville stadium.
“I have always admired his courage particularly with his detention on Robben Island.”
Moseneke had been seen by a number of legal bars and judges as a favourite for the chief justice post.
On Saturday while explaining his decisions not to provide reasons for dissenting in a case involving a ruling on homosexuality, Mogoeng snapped at Moseneke, telling him there was “no need for sarcasm”.
He later apologised for the remark.
“If you listen, you might be able to answer,” said Moseneke.
“You don't have to be sarcastic, sir,” retorted Mogoeng.
Inkatha Freedom Party MP Koos van der Merwe said in his 15 years as a commissioner on the JSC he had never seen a candidate behave that way.
Van der Merwe asked Mogoeng whether he had a “short temper” after his outburst.
“It points to me that you are not suitable to be the number one lawyer in the country.
“This is the first time in 15 years that an applicant is so arrogant that he has done what you have done now,” he said.
Earlier Moseneke suggested that Mogoeng should not read out the entire 47-page document defending his track record as a prosecutor and a judge.
In his interview on Sunday, Mogoeng said as far as he knew he had a “sound relationship” with his colleagues.
“The only difficulty if any might relate to the nomination,” he said.
“I say it because we are human and we are all prone to disappointment.” He said he had taken it upon himself to round up his colleagues after his nomination.
“I was able to reach some, but some were just never available for that meeting to take place,” he said.
“I picked up some disappointment here and there.” According to commissioners it was “unprecedented” for a chief justice interview to stretch over two days.
“This is the second day of interviewing the candidate,” Gauteng Judge President Bernard Ngoepe said.
“This is something that has never happened in the past. When is this going to end.
“We can't spend the whole day dealing with certain issues and then following day we revisit the same issues.” - Sapa