Ramaphosa calls on public to pick new chief justice
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President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on the public to nominate the next chief justice of South Africa.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s term comes to an end on October 11.
The inclusion of the public is a first for the country since the dawn of democracy. The decision was made by the president after consulting the Judicial Service Commission and the leader of parties represented in the National Assembly.
Once nominations have been submitted, a panel of eminent persons with relevant experience will shortlist between three and five candidates.
The panel includes former Judge of the International Court of Justice and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay who will act as chairperson of the panel, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola, former Minister of Justice Jeff Radebe, former public protector advocate Thuli Madonsela, chair of the South African National Aids Council Mmapaseka Steve Letsike and professor of law at Howard University School of Law Ziyad Motala.
“To promote transparency and encourage public participation, President Ramaphosa has decided that South Africans should take part in the choice of the next chief justice,” acting spokesperson to the president Tyrone Seale said.
“The chief justice is responsible for leading the creation of jurisprudence as he or she presides over proceedings of the Constitutional Court. He or she is also responsible for setting and overseeing the maintenance of the standards for the exercise of the judicial functions of our courts, and chairing the Judicial Services Commission.”
The expert panel will have to report to Ramaphosa by the end of October.
Ramaphosa urged the public to take part in the nomination of the new chief justice.
“The chief justice occupies a vital position in our democratic constitutional order. It is therefore appropriate that all South Africans should have an opportunity to witness and participate in the selection of the next chief justice. We expect that this process will further deepen public confidence in the independence and integrity of the judiciary.”