‘Not borne out by the facts’: Lamola DENIES influencing CJ appointment

In reaction to EFF leader Julius Malema’s claim that he rigged the nomination of a Chief Justice in order to elevate Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo to the coveted position, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola is retaliating.
The hearings turned hot when Malema and Lamola exchanged insults before the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo was questioned on Friday, February 4, 2022, and it was found that Lamola had written to him in 2021, requesting that he consider Judge Mlambo for a position in the Constitutional Court.
Zondo admitted that this wasn’t the norm, but wasn’t unlawful either. Nonetheless, it didn’t stop Malema for implying that Lamola unduly interfered to boost Judge Mlambo’s chances of being appointed.
Judge Mlambo, along with ACJ Zondo, are one of four people vying to replace Mogoeng Mogoeng, who retired in October 2021.
Ronald Lamola has since moved to clear the air, saying there was nothing unethical and untoward about his communication with ACJ and if anything, is empowered to do so as the Minister of Justice.
In a statement, Lamola says the Constitution allows him to appoint acting judges to other courts after consulting the senior judge of the court on which
the acting judge will serve, in this case, ACJ Zondo and the Constitutional Court.

“The insinuation that the Minister sought to enhance the appointment-ability of a Chief Justice candidate by suggesting that the candidate be appointed to act in a vacancy in the Constitutional Court is designed not only to malign the Minister but also undermine confidence in the judiciary.
The conspiracy is not borne out by the facts, or the law.
It is for this reason that the Minister did not hesitate to share all the relevant letters with the Judicial Service Commissioners.
The process to appoint acting justices for the Constitutional Court occurred well before the President nominated Chief Justice candidates.”
Chrispin Phiri, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola’s spokesperson

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