Zuma cancels meeting with Zille

2011-09-06 10:39

President Jacob Zuma has cancelled a meeting with DA leader Helen Zille on the nomination of Judge Mogoeng Mogoeng as chief justice.

Zuma’s spokesperson Mac Maharaj said today that Zuma received Zille’s submission yesterday afternoon, and if he needed more clarity on it he would approach her.

“The president has indicated that he received submission yesterday [Monday] afternoon,” Maharaj said. “He is studying it. He is studying all the responses. At the moment it suffices. If he needs further clarity on it, he will turn to her.”
Maharaj said Zuma would make a decision on whether to appoint Mogoeng “in due course”.

“All the parties have submitted their views. So has the JSC and so has Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.”
Maharaj said Moseneke briefed Zuma in Pretoria.

Zille said she requested the meeting to discuss her submission on the suitability of Mogoeng for the position of chief justice.
“I wanted the opportunity to explain the DA’s concerns in detail, and to make a recommendation to the president that he withdraw his nomination and give serious consideration to other candidates,” she said.

“Section 174 of the Constitution enjoins the President to seek the counsel of the Judicial Service Commission [JSC] and consult with leaders of opposition parties when appointing a new Chief Justice.”

Zille said this consultation had to be meaningful, premised on a willingness by the president to change his mind after consulting. “That is why we sought this meeting so that we could debate the relative merits of his nominee compared to what we believe to be other more suitable candidates.”

She said Zuma was making a serious mistake with this appointment and the party wanted a face-to-face opportunity to motivate its reasons.

“It is a great pity that the president has reneged on his commitment to discuss his appointment to the highest judicial office in the country,” Zille said.

“South Africa’s judicial system will be poorer for it.”

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