Five things you need to know about new chief justice Zondo

Raymond Zondo will ascend to the chief justice position after he was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday.

Zondo was interviewed for the position along with Constitutional Court justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga, Gauteng judge president Dunstan Mlambo and president of the Supreme Court of Appeal justice Mandisa Maya.

All candidates were interviewed publicly last month by a panel of commissioners from the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

The JSC recommended Maya for the chief justice position, but the final decision lay with the president.

The presidency said Ramaphosa expressed his intention to nominate Maya as deputy chief justice. This nomination process will be guided by the Constitution.

Here are five things you should know about Zondo:

DEPUTY CHIEF JUSTICE 

Zondo was named deputy chief justice by former president Jacob Zuma in 2017.

The position became vacant after the retirement of judge Dikgang Moseneke, who was deputy to former chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

CHAIRPERSON OF SEVERAL COMMISSIONS

Zondo chaired the recently concluded state capture inquiry which was established in 2018.

The inquiry investigated allegations of systemic corruption in several government entities by state officials and business owners. The commission submitted a three-part report containing its findings to Ramaphosa.

Zondo also served in other commissions including the Goldstone Commission of Inquiry regarding the prevention of public violence and intimidation, and the ministerial task team established in 1994 to draft the labour relations bill for post-apartheid SA.

ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE 

Zondo was appointed acting chief justice in July last year. He took over the reins from Sisi Khampepe, who acted in the position from May until June 30.

EXPERIENCE IN THE JUDICIARY 

Zondo has held positions in different courts across the country, including the Constitutional Court.

  • He was appointed a judge in the labour court in November 1997.
  • In 1999, he was appointed judge of the then Transvaal Provincial Division of the High Court (now the North Gauteng Division of the High Court) in Pretoria.
  • In 2000 Zondo was appointed judge president of the labour court and labour appeal court, a position he occupied for 10 years.
  • In 2011 he was appointed acting judge of the Constitutional Court before he was officially appointed to the position in 2012.

WHAT RAMAPHOSA THINKS OF HIM 

The president sang Zondo’s praises and expressed optimism that he will excel at his job, which requires him to uphold and be a guardian of the Constitution.

“I have every confidence justice Zondo will acquit himself with distinction in this position,” said Ramaphosa.

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