Justice Mogoeng, a respected jurist, interjected halfway through Justice Jafta’s delivery of the majority judgment.
However, Justice Mogoeng’s office has defended him, with judiciary’s spokesperson Nathi Mncube telling Independent Media on Friday that the Chief Justice’s actions did not break any rules.
Constitutional law expert and Unisa emeritus professor Shadrack Gutto said he did not know which reason Justice Mogoeng used to intervene and interject.
“I hope the Chief Justice will be able to learn from it (the incident) that it was improper for him or not decorous for him to do that because the judgments of the minority will also be reported and it’s on record and you don’t need to amplify it,” Gutto said.
The majority judgment, read by Justice Jafta with justices Edwin Cameron, Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane, Jody Kollapen, Nonkosi Mhlantla and Leona Theron concurring, slammed the National Assembly for failing to adopt regultions for the removal of Zuma in violation of the constitution.
The Concourt found that the National Assembly failed to diligently perform its obligations, which must be carried out thoroughly and without delay. “The National Assembly must comply with section 237 of the constitution (its duty to perform obligations diligently) and fulfil paragraph 4 (failure to determine whether Zuma breached the constitution) without delay,” reads the Constitutional Court’s judgment.
Its failure to determine whether Zuma breached the constitution in failing to implement former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s was also found to be inconsistent with the supreme law of the country.
But Justice Mogoeng was unhappy with his subordinates’ majority judgment and described it as a “textbook case of judicial overreach”.
He slammed the judgment as “a constitutionally impermissible intrusion by the judiciary into the exclusive domain of Parliament”.
According to Justice Mogoeng, the extraordinary nature and gravity of his assertion demanded that he provide substance to undergird it “particularly because the matter is polycentric in nature and somewhat controversial”.
The country’s top judge said the majority judgment was at odds with the sacred separation of powers and insensitive to the doctrine that axing Zuma as head of state should be determined by the National Assembly.