President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo as South Africa’s next Chief Justice effective 1 April 2022.
The Presidency made the official announcement in a statement issued on Thursday (10 March), bringing to an end a lengthy selection process that started in September last year.
Raymond Zondo appointed South Africa’s Chief Justice
“The President’s decision follows consultation with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and leaders of parties in the National Assembly on four nominees for appointment as Chief Justice,” the Presidency said.
“In terms of the Constitution, the Chief Justice is ‘the head of the judiciary and exercises responsibility over the establishment and monitoring of norms and standards for the exercise of the judicial functions of all courts.'”
Zondo has served as Deputy Chief Justice since 2017 when former President Jacob Zuma appointed him to the position. In 2018, Zuma also appointed him chairperson of the state capture commission of inquiry.
He became the Acting Chief Justice in May last year following former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s decision to take long leave just five months before his term of office expired.
Ramaphosa to nominate Mandisa Maya for Deputy Chief Justice
In Thursday’s statement, Ramaphosa also indicated his intention to nominate Supreme Court of Appeal Judge President Mandisa Maya for the Deputy Chief Justice position.
The JSC had recommended Maya for Chief Justice following controversial interviews held in February. In a subsequent media interview, Ramaphosa said the JSC had overstepped its mandate, which he said was limited to indicating the suitability of the candidates.
Besides Maya and Zondo, Ramaphosa had also nominated Constitutional Court Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga and Gauteng high court Judge President Dunstan Mlambo.
“The inclusive process of selecting the next Chief Justice demonstrated not only the value that South Africans place on the judiciary, but also the depth of experience and capability within the senior ranks of the judiciary,” the President said.
“The position of Chief Justice carries a great responsibility in our democracy. As the head of the judiciary, the Chief Justice is a guardian of our Constitution and the laws adopted by the freely elected representatives of the people.
“The Chief Justice stands as the champion of the rights of all South Africans and bears responsibility for ensuring equal access to justice. I have every confidence that Justice Zondo will acquit himself with distinction in this position.”