Former president Jacob Zuma wants Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s appointment to be reviewed and overturned.
The Jacob Zuma Foundation on Tuesday night announced that Zuma has taken legal action against President Cyril Ramaphosa, seeking relief to declare his decision to appoint Judge Raymond Zondo as Chief Justice of South Africa unconstitutional.
Zuma filed a court notice to oppose the appointment of Zondo.
He said Ramaphosa acted irrationally by ignoring the advice of the Judicial Services Commission when appointing Zondo to the position.
The foundation furnished the media with court papers filed in the High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Division, Pretoria, where he is the first applicant, the foundation the second applicant, Ramaphosa the first respondent, JSC the second respondent and Zondo as the third respondent.
The foundation also shared a 52-page affidavit by Zuma.
“In this application, I firstly seek to review and set aside the President's decision to appoint the third respondent as Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa on the basis that it is unconstitutional. The judicial review is specifically sought under the principle of legality.
“Furthermore, cumulatively and/or alternatively, I also seek declaratory relief in terms of section 172(1)(a) of the Constitution and in respect of the conduct of the President in appointing the third respondent. fI such a declaratory order is granted, I am advised that the Honourable Court has a wide discretion in terms of section 172(1)(b) of the Constitution to make any order that is just and equitable.
A just and equitable order would be to set aside the appointment of the third respondent but not nullifying the decisions that he took while in the position of Chief Justice,” said Zuma in the affidavit.
Ramaphosa appointed Zondo as Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa in April 2022.
Zuma and the JG Zuma Foundation previously launched an application against Ramaphosa in the North Gauteng High Court seeking relief to declare the conduct of the president in appointing Zondo to be unconstitutional and to review and set aside the decision to appoint him.
Last week, 26 September 2023, Ramaphosa filed his Notice to oppose the application while the Judicial Service Commission filed a notice to abide by whatever decision of the court will make.
Accordingly, the next step in the process will be the compulsory provision by the JSC and Ramaphosa of the record of the proceedings and deliberations pertaining to the JSCs recommendations and the President’s decision.
The JGZ Foundation spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi said according to publicly available evidence, the current Chief Justice scored the lowest number of votes from the JSC following the week-long interviews.
“Yet, Ramaphosa allegedly acted irrationally in ignoring the advice of the JSC and appointing him despite being effectively declared as unsuitable for the position and the poor showing he made at the public interview,” Manyi said.
He further said: “The applicants and the public will surely look forward to what legal justification Ramaphosa will give for his decision when he files his answering affidavit. He will be called upon to dispel the allegations or suspicions that Zondo was being unduly rewarded for absolving Ramaphosa for his role in the Bosasa/CR 17 scandal, among other things, in the so-called State Capture Commission Report”.
The foundation said Ramaphosa must also explain why he overlooked a woman candidate when she had, in any event, received the highest votes.
“Such conduct is in breach of the equality clause (section 9 of the Constitution) and section 174(2) of the Constitution, both of which prohibit gender discrimination.
The Foundation will keep the public informed about developments in this important matter involving accountability,” said Manyi.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said that the will accordingly, engage Zuma's court action against the appointment of Chief Justice Zondo through the courts.
“It is clear that Mr Zuma will not tire in his abuse of the courts and in his obsessive harassment of President Ramaphosa,” he said