Too few nominations for ConCourt vacancy

2012-02-07 09:46

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has only received three nominations for an opening on the Constitutional Court bench, forcing it to push back the deadline for submissions by two weeks to avoid breaching Constitutional requirements.

According to the Constitution, when an ordinary judge of the court is appointed, the JSC must prepare a list with three names more than the number of appointments to be made.

The JSC must therefore prepare a list with four names for the single position that is currently vacant.

Dumisa Ntsebeza, spokesperson for the JSC, confirmed that it “attracted only three nominations for the positions”.

“The number of nominations we got was not in compliance with that section (174) of the Constitution,” said Ntsebeza.

In the JSC’s initial advertisement in January, the deadline for nominations was announced as Friday, February 3.

But in a press statement issued yesterday, the JSC announced that this deadline had been pushed back by two weeks to February 17.

The position on the country’s top court opened up last year after President Jacob Zuma’s controversial attempt to extend former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo’s term.

Ngcobo initially accepted an offer made by Zuma to extend the term under a section of the Judges Act, but withdrew his availability when the constitutionality of the section was challenged in the Constitutional Court.

The provision was found to be unconstitutional, with the court ruling the Act “usurped” the powers of
Parliament to extend the term of the chief justice.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s nomination and later appointment to the position meant that his former spot as an ordinary judge of the court was left open.

The JSC has also advertised two open positions in the Supreme Court of Appeal, as well as the position of Judge President of the North and South Gauteng High Court.

After the closing date for submissions, the JSC will draw up a public short-list of candidates to be interviewed by the commission in April.

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