KZN judges are friendly rivals

2012-10-20 00:00

HIGH court Judge Isaac Madondo says he and Judge Achmat Jappie are still the best of friends as they await the decision of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) as to who their preferred candidate is for the post of deputy judge president.

“We flew together [for the interviews], we had breakfast and dinner together and we have been chatting all the time while we are waiting,” Judge Madondo told Weekend Witness yesterday.

Judge Madondo said he was “at peace whatever the outcome” of the interviews conducted last week by the JSC.

Reports published yesterday by Business Day Live indicated that Judge Jappie was the JSC’s preferred candidate for the KZN post, but no formal announcement has been made and Judge Jappie and Madondo had not been informed.

“I have done my part and as far as I am concerned I acquitted myself well, but the decision does not rest with me,” Judge Madondo said during a telephonic interview.

He said if Judge Jappie is appointed deputy judge president he will pledge his support to him and will continue to strive to do his best.

If nominated again in future for vacancies, he would consider making himself available if people believed he could be of service, he said.

Judge Madondo said in the present instance he had enjoyed widespread support among the legal fraternity who had expressed their view to the JSC that he was competent with good leadership skills, and was a suitable person for the appointment. However, Judge Jappie had greater seniority.

Judge Madondo said if he is not successful he would not speculate on the reasons for the JSC decision.

“I do accept that he [Judge Jappie] is a senior and long serving judge.”

He said there was no animosity between himself and any other judges, including KZN Judge President Chiman Patel, against whom he previously stood for the position of judge president.

Of Patel’s “tough” questions, which were highlighted in the media including why he did not regularly attend the judges’ morning tea, Judge Madondo said he had given his responses to the JSC. Even though he does not always take tea, he does interact with his colleagues on the Bench and usually attends the judges lunches, he said.

Meanwhile, BD Live also reported yesterday that it had information that the JSC has decided that Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe will face a judicial conduct tribunal over allegations of misconduct, arising from a complaint by the judges of the Constitutional Court in 2008 that Judge Hlophe had improperly sought to influence the outcome of judgments connected to corruption charges facing President Jacob Zuma.

Judge Hlophe’s attorney, Barnabas Xulu, told Weekend Witness they had not heard from the JSC and would not comment until they were officially informed about the decision.

BD Live further stated that the JSC has decided to again overlook prominent senior advocate Jeremy Gauntlett for a judicial appointment for the fourth time.

“It is understood that the JSC recommended Ashton Schippers SC, Owen Rogers SC and attorneys Judith Cloete, Babalwa Mantame and Mokgoatji Dolamo for appointment to the Western Cape bench,” BDLive reported.

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