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Jacob Zuma Foundation says 3 Votes Zondo 'unfit to hold office' of Chief Justice

by Staff reporter
17 Nov 2023 at 12:29hrs | Views
Former President Jacob Zuma has cited Chief Justice Raymond Zondo's recent public remarks about him in his latest bid to legally challenge the appointment of Zondo as the Head of the Judiciary.

Zuma filed a supplementary affidavit in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday, stating that Zondo's remarks indicate, among other things, that he is "unfit to hold office" and that he "unnecessarily indulges in political commentary".

The former President approached the High Court earlier this year in a bid to have Chief Justice Zondo's appointment reversed. Zondo was appointed Chief Justice in April 2022 following interviews with the Judicial Service Commission.

This was despite the JSC recommending then Supreme Court of Appeal Judge President Mandisa Maya for the position.

In the latest court papers, the former President includes recent utterances by the Chief Justice at the National Anti-Corruption Dialogue and a television interview as well as the subsequent condemnation that followed.

Zuma argues in papers that the conduct of the Chief Justice is ongoing and "likely to be repeated" unless the relief he seeks is granted.

He goes on to state that lodging a complaint to the Judicial Service Commission, which is chaired by the Chief Justice, has "proven to be a futile exercise".

Zuma first launched the challenge through the Jacob Zuma Foundation in May.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who appointed Justice Zondo to the high seat, filed a notice to oppose the application on September 26.

This was while the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) filed a notice that it would abide by any ruling the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, would hand down over the matter.

In a statement released by the Zuma Foundation on Thursday, spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi said Ramaphosa and the JSC eventually produced "an incomplete record" of the documents.

"Some startling revelations have emerged from the record which put into serious doubt the rationality of President Ramaphosa's decision to appoint Judge Zondo ahead of Judge Mandisa Maya in particular. She was the candidate highly recommended by the JSC and leaders of political parties representing the vast majority of public representatives.

"It has also emerged that Judge Zondo received only three votes, compared to 19 votes for Judge Maya, making him the worst performer. He was also the only candidate to receive a serious adverse character comment from the JSC, which remarked that ‘efficiency and discipline did not appear to be his strengths'," Manyi stated.

The Foundation further accused Ramaphosa of violating the Constitution, which specifically prohibits gender discrimination. The President is compelled by the Constitution to consider "the need for the judiciary to reflect broadly the racial and gender composition of South Africa", which the Zuma Foundation said Ramaphosa's decision to overlook Judge Maya "in spite of her far superior credentials, performance, and suitability for the position" represented a "clear case" of gender discrimination.

"This legal challenge will give him the opportunity to justify his conduct, failing which it must be declared unconstitutional and set aside," Manyi said.

The Foundation also wants Justice Zondo to pay back the money he earned as Chief Justice.

Manyi said they also intend on asking the court to refer Zondo's "ongoing aggravating conduct of crossing the line" by dabbling in political commentary to the JSC for investigation and disciplinary action.

"We therefore look forward to the President's answering affidavit and hope that, for once, justice will be done in a case involving President Ramaphosa," Manyi said.

Source - online
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