New Chief Justice must raise the bar, says JSC

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) says South Africa’s new Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court must bring more than legal expertise to the bench.

This is according to the commission’s spokesperson, Advcoate Dali Mpofu SC, who was briefing the media on the sidelines of interviews for the position.

The interviews kicked off earlier this week for the position, which became vacant in October 2021.

“When we interview for such positions, we are obviously already interviewing …senior [leaders]. So we are not here to find whether this person is suitable to be a judge. That would have been done 10 or 15 years prior. But of course, legal skills…are their core business,” Mpofu said.

Constitutional Court Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga and President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, Judge Mandisa Maya, have already been interviewed for the position.

Judge President of the Gauteng Division of the High Court, Justice Dunston Mlambo and current acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo will round off the interviews on Thursday and Friday.

Mpofu said the commission will be “looking for more” when they select the new leader of the judiciary.

“We are looking for a leader… off the bench and on the bench as well. We are also looking for administrative skills and we are looking for people skills. So it’s that kind of interview.

“This is just at a higher level. It’s simply that kind of interview where you look at the more rounded set of criteria than just whether you can write a good judgment or whether you can just be a good leader.”

The commission is expected to enter into deliberations on Saturday upon the conclusion of the interviews and subsequently submit a report on the process to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Proceedings of the interviews can be followed live on the Judiciary RSA YouTube channel. – SAnews.