Moseneke staves off ugly battle

2011-08-20 20:14

Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke staved off an ugly battle yesterday when, in a bombshell statement, he announced he was not available for the top bench job.

Moseneke made the announcement at a special meeting of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) – which he chaired – to discuss the process to be followed to appoint the next chief justice.

At least two legal bodies had planned to insist on more judges being nominated for the position and for more views to be taken into consideration.

The National Association for Democratic Lawyers and Advocates for Transformation preferred Moseneke, citing his experience and seniority in the Constitutional Court.

This came after President Jacob Zuma nominated Judge Mogoeng Mogoeng for the top job following former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo’s retirement.

Zuma initially wanted Ngcobo to stay on for another five years, but had to nominate another judge when Ngcobo declined the offer following an outcry and a Constitutional Court challenge of the decision to extend his term.

Moseneke yesterday said: “In some instances, public speculation nearly suggests that my very life depends on my being appointed chief justice. That is simply not so.

“As matters stand, it is a rare privilege to serve my country in its highest court.”

“As much as I consider it an honour to be thought of as a potential nominee for the post of chief justice of this country, I have never solicited or accepted any nomination.

“Therefore, I am neither a hopeful, nor a nominee nor a contender, present or future, for the position of chief justice,” Moseneke said.

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