Zuma cancels chief justice talks with Zille
Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma has cancelled a meeting with DA leader Helen Zille to discuss the nomination of Judge Mogoeng Mogoeng as chief justice.
Zuma's spokesperson Mac Maharaj said on Tuesday that the president received Zille's submission on Monday afternoon, and if he needed more clarity on it, he would approach her.
"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 decide whether to appoint Mogoeng "in due course".
"All the parties have submitted their views. So has the Judicial Service Commission and so has Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke."
Maharaj said Moseneke briefed Zuma in Pretoria.
"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. South Africa's judicial system will be poorer for it," said Zille.
She requested the meeting to discuss her submission on the Mogoeng's suitability for chief justice.
"I wanted the opportunity to explain the Democratic Alliance'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 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."
Justice Minister Jeff Radebe told a routine security cluster media briefing earlier on Tuesday he was not aware Zuma had cancelled the scheduled meeting with Zille.
"It is for the president now to complete the process of consultation. I read in the media that he is meeting with the leader of the DA, Madame Helen Zille, this evening. So after that engagement I'm sure the president will apply his mind as to what he has to decide."
Radebe described Mogoeng's two-day grilling by the JSC as "robust" and said he was in favour of broadcasting such interviews on television and radio.
"My personal view is that live broadcasts are something that we need to promote in South Africa, so that all South Africans can see the candidate that is being interviewed," Radebe said.
"Especially in this instance where prior to the interview there has been a lot of media reports about the suitability of Justice Mogoeng. I think he has had his day on Saturday and Sunday, and I think the results of that from the JSC indicate what has happened."
The minister later said this remark should not be read as confirmation on his part of media reports that the members of the JSC had voted 16 to seven in favour of appointing Mogoeng.
He said he was just "an ordinary member of the JSC" and the passing on of the results was being handled by Moseneke.