Ngcobo's replacement delayed

2011-08-05 17:00

Pretoria - The appointment of a new chief justice will be delayed pending consultations with the Judicial Service Commission and political parties in Parliament, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.

"I am satisfied that the interest of justice and that of broader society will be better served if we allow more time for meaningful consultation, as this is a crucial decision impacting on the lives of South Africans," Zuma told the media in Pretoria.

He said the delay in the appointment of a new chief justice, to replace outgoing Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, would not adversely affect the judiciary.

Ngcobo would step down next Sunday after he withdrew his acceptance to extend his term of office.

Last week, the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg ruled the law Zuma used to extend Ngcobo’s term was unconstitutional.

Zuma was critical of how the matter had been reported in the media, saying "it look[ed] like a crime had been committed.

He said extension of the chief justice's term was done in terms of existing law passed by Parliament 10 years ago, and was used to extend terms of office of previous chief justices.

"The section of the law we used was valid until it was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court. It was unfortunate that the media chose to misrepresent the facts in this case," he said.