Image: The Citizen
The next Chief Justice of South Africa will be either Mbuyiseli Madlanga of the Constitutional Court, Mandisa Maya of the Supreme Court, Dunstan Mlambo of the Gauteng High Court, or Raymond Zondo, the current Deputy Chief Justice.
President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed that the four had been nominated as the final candidates for the country’s highest judicial office. The names were submitted to the Judicial Service Commission and leaders of the parties represented in the National Assembly on Wednesday, according to the presidency. The president appoints the chief justice and deputy chief justice, as well as the president and deputy president of the Supreme Court of Appeal, according to the constitution. They will now be interviewed by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and considered by Parliamentary leaders of political parties.
Madlanga was appointed as a Constitutional Court justice in 2013, while still serving as the Marikana Commission of Inquiry’s chief evidence leader.
Maya has been the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) since 2017, and if appointed, she will be South Africa’s first female Chief Justice. She is said to have helped the SCA overcome internal divisions and to have served as a judge at the Constitutional Court.
Mlambo was appointed Judge President of the Gauteng Division of the High Court in 2012. He has been praised for his leadership abilities both in the province and as Judge President of the Labour Court. From 2003 to 2010, he was a member of the Supreme Court of Appeal, but he has never sat on the Constitutional Court.
Zondo is by far the most well-known of the nominees. In 2017, he was appointed Deputy Chief Justice, and Mogoeng appointed him to chair the State Capture Commission of Inquiry, a role that has made him a household name.
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