Photo: SA Government / Twitter
President Cyril Ramaphosa invited members of the public to submit nominations for the next Chief Justice of South Africa on Thursday.
Photo: SA Government / Twitter
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng tenure is coming to an end next month and President Cyril Ramaphosa wants you to help choose his replacement. The government announced on Thursday, 16 September, that members of the public would be able to submit nominations for the next Chief Justice of South Africa.
The term of the current Chief Justice, Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, ends on 11 October 2021. At the end of the day, the final decision will still be made Ramaphosa, however, inviting public participation in this way is a first for the country. The move is meant to improve transparency and the public’s confidence in the judiciary.
“Any person may nominate candidates for the position of Chief Justice. These nominations should be accompanied by the endorsement and support of at least one professional body of legal practitioners, or non-governmental organisation working in the field of human rights, or other legal areas,” said the presidency in a statement.
The nominations from the public should explain why the nominee is a suitable candidate to head the country’s judiciary and preside over the Constitutional Court. The nominations should also be accompanied by a pledge of support from at least one professional body of legal practitioners or non-governmental organisation (NGO) working in human rights or other legal areas.
As with any job application, experience is also a deciding factor. The presidency said the nominations should include the individual’s experience as a legal practitioner, including any as a judge and/or leader.
All nominations and supporting documents should be sent to email@example.com(link sends e-mail) and firstname.lastname@example.org by 1 October 2021. They must include:
The nominated individuals will be published on the presidency’s website by 4 October 2021 for public scrutiny. If there are any objections, complaints would need to be submitted in writing to the above email addresses no later than Friday, 15 October.
Once the nominations are submitted, a panel of “eminent” individuals, including Navi Pillay (chairperson), Ronald Lamola, Jeff Radebe, Thuli Madonsela, Mmapaseka Steve Letsike and Ziyad Motala, will cut down the long list of candidates to a shortlist of between 3 and 5 candidates. Their deadline is Friday, 29 October.
President Ramaphosa will then take the shortlist of candidates and consult the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and the leaders of the political parties in the National Assembly – as required by the Constitution – before appointing 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,” said Ramaphosa. “We expect that this process will further deepen public confidence in the independence and integrity of the judiciary.”