Mogoeng prepared to explain JSC move

2012-10-26 22:24
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng (Picture: Beeld)

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng (Picture: Beeld)

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Johannesburg - Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng says he is prepared to explain why senior advocate Jeremy Gauntlett failed for a fourth time to become a judge.

"We always make reasons for rejection available," Mogoeng told reporters in Pretoria.

Gauntlett failed to make the latest list of candidates the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) recommended to President Jacob Zuma to be appointed as judges.

Business Day Live earlier reported former Supreme Court of Appeal deputy president Louis Harms as describing the exclusion of Gauntlett as "irrational and therefore legally assailable".

Harms, who nominated Gauntlett, conveyed his dissatisfaction to the JSC via his lawyer, Barry Cloete.

Cloete wrote to the JSC: "The preferring of Dolamo AJ over Gauntlett SC is in particular irrational and inexplicable, given what emerged in the interview of Dolamo AJ."

Mogoeng was speaking at a news briefing on Friday to announce the list of candidates recommended for appointment to the bench - sans Gauntlett again.

Mogoeng said though Harms had nominated Gauntlett, it would be necessary to find out from Gauntlett whether he was comfortable with the reasons for not recommending him being disclosed to Harmse.

"We will first run it by advocate Gauntlett," he said. "The bottom line is that reasons will be supplied when asked for."

He declined to discuss the reasons with reporters at the briefing.

Gauntlett had been nominated for a position in the Western Cape High Court, where eight candidates were shortlisted and interviewed.

Before the interviews, the JSC was informed by the deputy judge president of the Western Cape High Court that a fifth vacancy had arisen.

After interviews, the JSC recommended the following candidates as judges: Judith Innes Cloete; Mokgoatji Josiah Dolamo; Babalwa Pearl Mantame; Owen Lloyd Rogers, SC; and Ashton Schippers, SC.

BD Live said Cloete's letter did not specify which aspect of Dolamo’s interview was problematic.

It said Cloete asked Mogoeng to refer Dolamo’s recommendation back to the JSC and ask for reasons why it recommended him and not Gauntlett.

Mogoeng defended the JSC's selection process and said it did not go through the motions of pretending to interview people, then rubber stamp a recommendation by a personality or an organisation.

Once interviews were over, discussions were very open over "who should and shouldn't be appointed".

The committee which conducted the interviews comprised members of the ruling party, opposition parties, and representatives of other organisations, and "most of the time we actually agree on who to appoint", said Mogoeng.

- SAPA
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