Why no fanfare for Sandile Ngcobo?

2009-08-08 00:00

WHEN I woke up yesterday morning before the crack of dawn to take my wife to work and go to work myself, I tuned in to the breakfast show on 5FM (or Radio 5 to those who still think Pik Botha is the foreign affairs minister), which is hosted by the highly controversial Gareth Cliff.

G, as I normally refer to him, although G is for gangsta from where I’m sitting, has often made headlines for the wrong reasons, such as when he faked a live interview with Jesus.

That was followed by a lot of noise.

Or when he replayed a news clip of a Free State-based Bangladeshi national whose shop was looted during a public service strike and G laughed about how someone’s pain can be seen as hilarious. On both occasions he was suspended, only to be reinstated at a later stage.

Surprisingly, G made a very valid point yesterday morning. It was about how we made a meal of the inauguration of the president of the Republic of South Africa, who is the head of the executive, as well as the Speaker of the National Assembly.

However, when Jacob Zuma appointed Sandile Ngcobo as the new chief justice, there was no fanfare, as was the case with other branch heads.

Is the appointment of the head of the legislative wing of the government that insignificant that it is treated as just another day?

I am not asking for a lavish party or the presentation of a saloon vehicle, as some of the ministers have opted for, but there needs to be some recognition of the appointment, especially in the face of the cloud that continues to hang over the judiciary.

Even the opposition parties are fairly silent for a change. Why, I ask?

Is it because Zuma made the right choice? Did they think Zuma would appoint Judge Dikgang Moseneke or Judge John Hlophe?

Of course, Moseneke is bad news as he was personally asked by doomed former president Thabo Mbeki to go back to law, only to be promoted quicker than some of the hardest working judges on the bench.

Clearly, he was being groomed to take over from outgoing Chief Justice Pius Langa.

Brilliant as Hlophe may be, the allegations that have been levelled against him can only be viewed in the most serious light, whatever the truth may be.

It has been more than two days since Zuma’s announcement of Ngcobo as the new chief justice.

Opposition parties passed remarks about the appointment yesterday.

Zuma will largely be judged by, not just the key appointments he makes, such as those of the chief justice and the head of the NPA or the Hawks, but by how he handles the rule of the separation of powers.

Should he get this critical part right, the opposition will be silent throughout his term of office.

And then there was silence.

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