Malema questions delays in handing down Concourt judgments
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The pace at which the Constitutional Court hands down judgments on urgent matters came under the spotlight during the first day of interviews for Concourt judges on Monday.
EFF leader and JSC commissioner Julius Malema asked judges Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane and Judge Rammaka Mathopo, during their separate interviews, for their thoughts on this matter.
Malema was referring particularly to the Constitutional Court’s delay in ruling on former president Jacob Zuma's application for a rescission of the contempt of court order against him.
Malema said the matter was brought on an urgent basis before the court, and the delay in the handing down of the judgment was unacceptable.
Malema said there was a great sense of uncertainty in the country while waiting for the judgment.
“The country was literally burning,” he said.
He further questioned the interview candidates on how Concourt justices could be held accountable for such delays.
"The Constitutional Court takes forever to come back to us with so much uncertainty; how do we deal with that? Is that enhancing the good image of the judiciary, and, if not, who is going to be held accountable?" he asked.
Kathree-Setiloane agreed that, when the case was urgent, the ruling needed to be delivered "with the requisite urgency".
She said she understood the frustrations in waiting for important judgments to be handed down speedily, and said the justices also needed to restrain themselves and write shorter judgments.
Malema asked Mathopo whether the "norms and standards" that applied to High Court rulings were not applicable to the ConCourt.
Mathopo maintained that Malema raised a "fair comment" and suggested Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo should take back these concerns to his colleagues at the apex court.
The JSC began its re-run of the Constitutional Court interviews after objections to the initial proceedings were lodged.
The South Gauteng High Court in August this year ordered the JSC to reconvene and interview the eight candidates for positions in the Constitutional Court, after the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (Casac) approached it to have the interview process restarted.
Interviews for judges Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane, Jody Kollapen, Rammaka Mathopo, Mahube Molemela, Bashier Vally, David Unterhalter and Advocate Alan Dodson SC were set down for Monday.
The eighth candidate, KwaZulu-Natal High Court Judge Dhaya Pillay opted out of the new interview process after failing to be recommended.
The previous interviews were widely criticised for being “politicised”, particularly the interviews of Pillay and Gauteng High Court Judge David Unterhalter, both of whom did not make the JSC shortlist.