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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


Zuma Foundation demands Ramaphosa removes Zondo as Chief Justice

A year after he appointed Raymond Zondo as Chief Justice, the Zuma Foundation wants Ramaphosa to reverse his decision.


The Jacob Zuma Foundation is challenging the appointment of Judge Raymond Zondo as Chief Justice and is demanding that President Cyril Ramaphosa reverse his decision to appoint him.

Ntanga Nkuhlu, attorney’s for the Zuma Foundation, issued a letter to Ramaphosa on Thursday raising a number of issues on the appointment of Zondo.  

Ramaphosa appointed Zondo as chief justice in March last year. At the time, he was the Deputy Chief Justice and chair of the state capture inquiry.

The president’s decision followed consultation with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and leaders of parties in the National Assembly on four nominees for the top post.

Issues raised over Zondo’s appointment

However, more than a year later, the Zuma Foundation has taken issue with Zondo’s appointment.

In the letter, the attorneys said that during the said JSC interviews one of the pertinent issues raised was Zondo’s “clearly untruthful and dishonest” account of meetings privately held with Zuma.

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“Among several other disqualifying factors is the fact that Judge Zondo had at the time and still does continue to ignore an application brought by former president Zuma against his non-recusal from sitting as chairperson of the so-called state capture commission.

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JSC

“Our clients also have reason to believe that Judge Zondo was correctly ranked last by the JSC following its post-interview deliberations. This means that, in the independent view of the JSC, all the other three nominees performed far better than Judge Zondo and he was determined to be the least suitable or an unsuitable candidate,” the attorneys said.

The attorney also said the legal requirement of Ramaphosa making the appointment after consultation with the JSC “was not met in the circumstances”.

“It is also our clients’ belief that the appointment was accompanied by ulterior, illegal and unconstitutional and personal motives on your part.”

Demands

The Zuma Foundation has demanded that Ramaphosa reverse his decision to appoint Judge Zondo as Chief Justice and accused the president of ignoring or overlooking the recommendations of the JSC.

“Such conduct was clearly in violation of your constitutional obligations conferred in terms of section 178, read with section 83 of the Constitution. You are required to do so on or before 11 May 2023.”

The lawyers added that the Zuma Foundation will institute “urgent legal proceedings” against Ramaphosa if he doesn’t meet its demands.

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