Tuesday, August 16, 2011

South Africa Constitutional Court Controversy

Paragraph 174 of the South African Constitution allows the President "as head of the national executive, after consulting the Judicial Service Commission and the leaders of parties represented in the National Assembly" to  appoint the Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice of the South African Constitutional Court.

Judge-Mogoeng-Mogoeng Zuma previously suggested extending the term of Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, but the South African Constitution is clear regarding the twelve year limit for justices.

President Zuma's just announced choice, Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, (pictured right) has been greeted with disbelief by many South African constitutional scholars and court-watchers.  Mogoeng is a justice of the Con Court, but one of its most junior members and one of its most conservatives ones.

Our South African colleague Pierre deVos of Constitutionally Speaking has an excellent reaction piece clarifying that Zuma's opinion may be unwise but is constitutionally permissible, although it might be that the more progressive members of the parties in the legislature will take their consultative responsibilities very seriously.



Comparative Constitutionalism, Courts and Judging, Current Affairs | Permalink

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This decision is quite disturbing. Apart from the fact that there was an obvious, highly esteemed, very competent Deputy-Chief Justice (Dikgang Moseneke) available for appointment, as well as other suitably qualified senior judges (Cameron, Yacoob) or women (Nkabinde, Kampepe), the President has stuck his finger in the eye of the judiciary with this appointment. Its a sad day for those committed to legal transformation.

Posted by: Penelope Andrews | Aug 17, 2011 8:10:47 AM

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