Mogoeng 'approved' as chief justice

2011-09-04 19:44

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Cape Town - The Judicial Services Commission (JSC) will recommend to President Jacob Zuma that Mogoeng Mogoeng be the next chief justice, a commissioner told Sapa on Sunday.

The commissioner, speaking on condition of anonymity, said JSC members had voted in favour of Mogoeng who was interviewed throughout Saturday and Sunday on whether he was an appropriate choice for the job .

The JSC is still to comment.

Earlier on Sunday, one of President Jacob Zuma's representatives on the JSC told Mogoeng that he did not support him for the post.

"My candidate is the Deputy Chief Justice [Dikgang Moseneke]," Commissioner Dumisa Ntsebeza, who is also the chairperson of the Avusa group, told Mogoeng in Cape Town during his interview for the post.

"If it were my choice I would have gone for him."

Mogoeng replied that he was aware of Ntsebeza's view, but that this was the first time he had heard him "say it".

Ntsebeza told Mogoeng that if there was "a successful challenge" to his nomination as chief justice, he should continue to show the dignity he had shown since being nominated for the position by Zuma.

'Petulance'

"If it were for me to say to you, that dignity that has been commented upon by everyone with which you met these attacks of you over the while, should continue," Ntsebeza said.

However, Commissioner Izak Smuts said the "petulance" Mogoeng showed when he "lost his temper" with Moseneke, who is chairing the interview, on Saturday had raised questions about his suitability for the post.

On Saturday while explaining his decisions not to provide reasons for dissenting in a case involving a ruling on homosexuality, Mogoeng snapped at Moseneke, telling him there was "no need for sarcasm".

He later apologised for the remark.

"If you listen, you might be able to answer," said Moseneke.

"You don't have to be sarcastic, sir," retorted Mogoeng.

Inkatha Freedom Party MP Koos van der Merwe said in his 15 years as a commissioner on the JSC he had never seen a candidate behave that way.

"It points to me that you are not suitable to be the number one lawyer in the country. This is the first time in 15 years that an applicant is so arrogant that he has done what you have done now," Van der Merwe said.

Temper

On Sunday Mogoeng defended his loss of temper.

"There is not a single human being who never loses his or her temper," he said.

"I am not God, I am a human being. It does happen that you don't realise your mistake until someone draws your attention to it.

"As soon as I recognised my wrongdoing, I did what I believe any human being who does not pretend to have a heart of stone had to do.

"You must be very careful not to overplay the weaknesses we all have as human beings."

Mogoeng said he had accepted the nomination to be chief justice not because he loved positions, but because "there is work to be done".

"I had to step forward to be interviewed," he said.

- SAPA
Read more on:    dumisa ntsebeza  |  izak smuts  |  mogoeng mogoeng  |  koos van der merwe  |  jacob zuma  |  dikgang moseneke  |  cape town  |  judiciary
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