The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa’s choice of the new Constitutional Court judges, saying it shows he “lacks integrity”.
This after Ramaphosa appointed Judges Narandran “Jody” Kollapen and Rammaka Steven Mathopo as Judges of the Constitutional Court, with effect from 1 January 2022.
While the party did not question the competence of the appointed judges, it criticised Ramaphosa for not using the opportunity to appoint a woman to the position.
Acting Chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), Judge Raymond Zondo had recommended Justice B Molemela, Justice R Mathopo, Justice F Kathree-Setiloane, Justice J Kollapen and Justice B Vally for the vacant positions.
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The President consulted with Zondo and the leaders of parties represented in the National Assembly through a letter on 22 November 2021 with regard to the five candidates nominated by the JSC.
EFF leader Julius Malema then proposed that Ramaphosa appoint a man and woman to the positions as the EFF is “as an organisation guided by an acute understanding that the fight against gender-based violence begins at the heights of power, such as the judiciary”.
Malema had proposed the appointment of Justices B Molemela and R. Mathoho who both currently serve on the Supreme Court of Appeals.
“Sadly, because Ramaphosa lacks integrity and the graps of how to alter power relations in order to serve the most marginalised in society, he appointed two males,” said the party in a statement.
“In a move that reveals that he pays nothing but lip-service to the agenda for transformation of the judiciary and furthering the case of women, Ramaphosa has not only reversed the gains of women representation in the judiciary but cememnts a long existing perception that the judicial sphere is designed for males.”
“In a time when our courts need transformation in order to be firmer and more sensitive to the conditions confronted by the women of this country, Ramaphosa has chosen to spit in the face of an opportunity to effect meaningful and identifiable change. When there are two judges who are both competent and experienced, are male and female, the logical conclusion to effect transformation in a field historically and contemporary only dominated by men, is to appoint a woman.”
His decision is a “clear sign” of his disregard for the need for transformation in the judiciary, said the party.