UPDATE: CHIEF JUSTICE INTERVIEWS
On 2 December 2021 the Judicial Service Commission announced that a date has been set for the interviews of the four candidates for Chief Justice of South Africa.
The JSC explained that President Ramaphosa had, on 18 November 2021, forwarded them a letter nominating the four candidates and asking them to consider their suitability for appointment as Chief Justice.
As we explained earlier (see here) the Constitution gives the President, as head of the Executive arm of government, wide discretion on who to appoint as Chief Justice. The only requirement is that he must act after consultation with the JSC and leaders of political parties in the National Assembly (section 174(3) of the Constitution).
The Constitution similarly gives the President a wide discretion on how to go about appointing the Chief Justice. As we explained (see here) President Ramaphosaa decided to break with the past and follow a more open, consultative and competitive process for appointing the next CJ. The process featured a call for nominations from the public and a diverse selection panel to draw up a shortlist of candidates.
We still believe that this was the correct process to follow as it has now led to some of the most brilliant judges in South Africa putting themselves forward in a way we have never seen in the past. The fact that each judge will be given an opportunity to cast their vision for the Judiciary during the interview is also an exciting prospect.
That process has now reached the stage of the JSC interviews, which are scheduled to take place from 1 – 5 February 2022, in Johannesburg. The interviews will be chaired by Supreme Court of Appeal Deputy President Xola Petse.
The JSC has called on the legal profession, academics, civil society and the general public to comment on the four candidates for Chief Justice.
The four candidates for Chief Justice are: