The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has confirmed that the interviews for the candidates nominated for chief justice will commence next year.
This is after the Presidency confirmed last month that four candidates had been shortlisted for the position.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has submitted the list of candidates to the JSC, as well as the leaders of political parties represented in Parliament, for consultation.
The candidates, which include acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) President Mandisa Maya, Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga and Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, will now be interviewed by the JSC in February.
In statement released on Thursday, the JSC confirmed that the nominees were now required to submit questionnaires and supporting documents.
“All four nominees must complete the required questionnaire for judges and submit all the necessary and standard documentation required for persons who seek to be appointed as judges. The nominees have been given until Friday, 10 December to submit all the aforementioned information.”
The JSC will conduct the interviews over a period of five days.
“After receiving the information from the candidates and the subsequent comments as indicated above, the nominees will be invited for public interviews scheduled to take place from 1 to 5 February 2022 in Gauteng to determine the suitability or otherwise of the nominees. Details of the time and venue shall be communicated in due course to the media and the public at large.”
The commission will then submit a written report to Ramaphosa following the conclusion of the interviews.
Section 174 (3) of the Constitution empowers the president to appoint the next chief justice after consultation.
In September, Ramaphosa had invited public nominations for the position, in an attempt to “promote transparency and encourage public participation”.
The invitation came a month before the end of term of Mogoeng Mogoeng on 11 October 2021.
The four names were chosen from the initial eight, which included Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe, advocate Alan Nelson and Dr Wallace Amos Mgoqi.
Mkhwebane and Mgoqi withdrew from the race in October.
What is a chief justice responsible for?
In terms of the Constitution, the chief justice is “the head of the judiciary and exercises responsibility over the establishment and monitoring of norms and standards for the exercise of the judicial functions of all courts”.
The chief justice is responsible for leading the creation of jurisprudence as they preside over proceedings of the Constitutional Court.
They are also responsible for setting and overseeing the maintenance of the standards for the exercise of the judicial functions of our courts, and chairing the JSC.