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Zondo says he wants to see a truly independent judiciary by the time his term as Chief Justice ends

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo makes himself available to media scrutiny before he takes the seat as Chief Justice in less than a week. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo makes himself available to media scrutiny before he takes the seat as Chief Justice in less than a week. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 24, 2022

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Johannesburg - Newly-appointed Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has set his sights on ensuring that the judiciary obtains institutional independence before his term ends.

In a media briefing on Thursday – his first since President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his appointment as Chief Justice – Justice Zondo said he wanted to leave behind a truly independent judiciary.

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“I said in my (Chief Justice) interview that many years ago, a former CJ set up a team to look into institutional independence the JSC should have. They looked at various models which included the Office of the Chief Justice. But, there are three phases that should have been done and are not yet completed,” he said.

Justice Zondo again credited former president Jacob Zuma for establishing the Office of the Chief Justice, but said the country now needed to look towards the future.

“By the time my term of office has ended and the judiciary obtains its independence, I will be happy. If we leave behind a judiciary that is truly independent, then we can have peace that our democracy and Constitution are truly protected,” Justice Zondo said.

He added that he did not doubt that he would work very well with the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) and vice versa.

Reacting to his appointment, Justice Zondo said he felt the burden of the responsibility that came with this appointment.

“I was happy that I was appointed. My mind quickly moved to what may lie ahead. But, I feel honoured, because I do think it is an honour to be appointed as a judge in the first place. But Chief Justice is a special honour. It gives one the opportunity to serve the people in a special way,” he said.

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