Zuma's Ngcobo decision 'unconstitutional'

2011-07-29 11:12

Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court on Friday ruled that it was unconstitutional for President Jacob Zuma to extend now-outgoing Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo's term of office.

The judgment was unanimous.

The court declared Section 8a of the Judges Remuneration and Conditions of Employment Act - in terms of which Zuma extended Ngcobo's term - unconstitutional.

The court found that the section allowed the president to "usurp" the power of Parliament and held that Parliament alone had the power to extend a Constitutional Court judge's term of office.

Zuma and the justice minister were ordered to pay costs.

It was announced on Wednesday that Ngcobo had decided to withdraw his acceptance of Zuma's extension, which leaves the post of chief justice open from August 15 should a replacement not be found by then.

The application against the way Zuma offered Ngcobo an extended term was brought by the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution, Freedom under Law, the Justice Alliance of SA and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies.

  • Daveza - 2011-07-29 11:23

    'Zuma and the justice minister were ordered to pay costs' - No, we taxpayers will pick up the tab, not Zuma nor the justice minister.

      willieman - 2011-07-29 11:30

      Jail minister of justice

      MandlaSithole - 2011-07-29 11:55

      Why are they still voting for this dude? I don't suppose we will even get an apology?

      nosiphom - 2011-07-29 13:09

      Daveza, what I find amusing is that the taxpayer pays for the costs which go to the fiscus as well - what a waste of administrative resources. Take money from the pocket on the right and spend a lot of resources to put it in pocket on the left only to discover it is still your money !

      croix - 2011-07-29 13:12

      And mac mac mac mac mac Maharaj had a chirp about it being within old Zoooomer's rights to extend Ngcobo's term - instead of waiting for the CC decision? AAI, MAN!

      capetonian - 2011-07-29 13:59

      Who the hell advises JZ?? Think about it - he wants to extend the Chief Justice's reign - who must surely know that his colleagues in the Constitutional Court are going to apply their minds to the Constitution and must arrive at the same decision he would have arrived at...... the mind boggles - or have I got it completely wrong?

      Daveza - 2011-07-29 14:12

      It's time they made the culprits pay for their own ' mistakes '. This is taxpayers money which is supposed to be used for maintenance and service provision. Until then the media should stop using this term and rather use ' the taxpayer was ordered to pay the costs '.

  • Together - 2011-07-29 11:24

    And bless Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo for being just one of millions of South Africans who treat law and the Constitution with respect. I hope that he goes on to represent us in many areas as we need people who will restore some of SA's self-respect.

      cameronrh1 - 2011-07-29 11:30

      He only rejected the position when questions started to arrise that his appointment would be unconstitutional, he wouldn't have rejected the reappointment if these question were not raised, that you can be sure of.

      Together - 2011-07-29 11:52

      The fact that he was sensitive to questions is to what I refer - no-one expects perfection, but to still have a conscience at all is commendable nowadays.

      Seanred - 2011-07-29 11:56

      Why did Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo take the extension in the first place? Two days before decision he no longer wants it, strange.

      Spade - 2011-07-29 12:34

      Timing is everything, they say. It would seem Ngcobo stepped down too late, because judgement still went against Zuma.

      DIZOZO - 2011-07-29 12:48

      Well said Together.There are a few with integrity amongst us.

      Lauren - 2011-07-29 12:51

      Cameron, even the opposition (DA etc.) commended the man's service to SA and lamented the way in which this all had to come to pass. His integrity and service to SA is not in question, it is the way the extension was brought about. I hope he is not lost to us.

      Creeky - 2011-07-29 15:42

      Minsiter of Justice should have KNOWN that it would BACK FIRE.. Apparently he tried to convince people that Xhalkalson and Pius Langa went thru the same process.... HOW STUPID, when this was the 1st?

      OZNOB - 2011-07-31 08:24

      unfortunately for zuma despite having all these learnwd men around him he chooses to ignore them which only proves the idiom : ignrance can be taught out a hangover can be cured but stupid lasts forever

  • Mad man - 2011-07-29 11:25


      Freddie - 2011-07-29 11:32

      Yes it is rubbish that Zuma tried to circumvent the constitution of this land.

      ZotBot - 2011-07-29 11:33

      Not rubbish, good for democracy. GOOD GOOD GOOD You must grow up, and so must banana politics in Africa

      DeonL - 2011-07-29 11:44

      I thought you liked Zuma?

      ZA_R - 2011-07-29 11:45

      U or ZUMA?

      StBad - 2011-07-29 11:59

      I read your comment (shocked) and then noticed your Avatar (and it all made sense). You're mad... man!

      TheWasp - 2011-07-29 13:00

      Madman go tidy your shack.... Have the ANC Govt backed Hawks done anything about Juli-arse Malema's Trust Fund yet - Um No! Will they? Um No...why Cause ANC have stepped in and said back off You (The ANC) are all sick crooks who get away with theft, make their own rules, get rich and screw the poor attitude..Investors are noticing and I pray your days are numbered - the lot of you!

      GTA_Lad - 2011-07-29 13:57

      That we have a thick cattle boy as a 'pres'? Damn right it's rubbish

      Lauren - 2011-07-29 21:02

      TheWasp, why do you insist on stooping to a level that is so reprhensible. "Go tidy your shack". Indeed. I suppose you are also one of those people who can't get over the fact that black people won't vote for a white party, or befriend white people. Can you blame them with the quality of comment you leave lying around on websites. Why don't you up your responses? Is that really the best you have?

      THE.SRG - 2011-07-30 01:21

      mad you know what troll means...pls tell me

  • Ryan Tunney - 2011-07-29 11:26

    Yes, it was found to be unconstitutional. So now what?

      Kevin King - 2011-07-29 11:29

      We should just scrap this racist, western tendency called a constitution. I'm sure the trolls will agree. Then again they probably won't comment on this story.

      paulf - 2011-07-29 11:31

      Zuma and the justice minister were ordered to pay costs.

      Kevin King - 2011-07-29 11:38

      @ Paulf: Yes I know, I can see it on my payslip.

      THE.SRG - 2011-07-30 01:25

      so now we pay the costs zuma has been told to pay

  • - 2011-07-29 11:27

    Na-na-na-na-na. Told you so.

  • daaivark - 2011-07-29 11:29

    Whoops Mac Maharaj! Blew it a bit yesterday then, did you. See what sycophancy can do?

      GT - 2011-07-29 11:54

      Operation Vula... all back together again for one last dance

      Dr Filemon - 2011-07-29 12:09

      maharaj the spin doctor got spun

      GTA_Lad - 2011-07-29 12:12

      My thoughts exactly, guess he spoke too soon

      RobinHood - 2011-07-29 12:34

      Classical old "egg in the face" situation Mac the juror - out of the water

      Liberty - 2011-07-29 16:51

      Yeah you know Mac is lying when his lips are moving

  • Ryan Tunney - 2011-07-29 11:33

    Should have given Zuma a flathand on the ear..then it would have been worth it.

      ZotBot - 2011-07-29 11:35

      Or on the nose, again

      Tantrum - 2011-07-29 11:38

      Or even worst - spill whiskey on him

      ZotBot - 2011-07-29 11:41

      @ Tantrum, no please, not drink spillage, anything but that !!!

      Blougroen - 2011-07-29 11:59

      @Tantrum - you probably mean "spill whiskey close to him" . . .

      allan.clean - 2011-07-29 12:11

      Spilling whiskey - That's a Murder Charge. No bail and at least 20 years with no parole option. For a comrade that's justice.

  • Justin - 2011-07-29 11:35


      ZA_R - 2011-07-29 11:42

      Ya met eishhh....

  • iDubula - 2011-07-29 11:40

    Lets not let a small matter of Constitutionality come between us comrades...

      Tantrum - 2011-07-29 11:44


      ZotBot - 2011-07-29 11:54

      iDumbula, that's what is wrong with you and the rest of the ANC sheep. You have no respect for democracy or anything around good governance. You're hopeless ....

      iDubula - 2011-07-29 12:12

      ZotBot - that's whats wrong with you - no appreciation for satyre or sarcasm...

      umhlopo - 2011-07-29 12:37


      Kenno - 2011-07-29 12:38

      @Zotbot ?????????iDubula's comment was clearly sarcasm!!! Dont be so defensive....It is bad for the blood pressure boet!

      TSaR - 2011-07-29 13:01

      You have no idea what an *rse you're making of yourself. The one minute everything thats not black must go to Pluto, the next we're all comrades. C'mon iDubula, you're schizophrenic.

      johan - 2011-07-29 14:25


      Dave50 - 2011-07-29 14:39

      You will hide behind the constitution as soon as it suits or helps you, no doubt about that.

      THE.SRG - 2011-07-30 01:29

      wow...alot of guys here dont get the sarcasm....idiots

  • cgtours - 2011-07-29 11:41

    Zuma must realise he and the ANC do not own this Country!! There are Citizens here of many colours and background who have the same right as he has and even more in some Provinces- He is in the employ of the Citizens and MOSTLY TAXPAYERS- that is why he is getting a salary so is the ENITRE GOVERNMENT AND THIS MUST BE NOW TOLD TO THEM IN NO UUNCERTAIN TERMS! wHEN HIS TERM IS FINISHED HE BUGGERS OFF RICH AND sOUTH aFRICANS MUST LIVE WITH HIS BLUNDERS FOR THE NEXT HOW MANY YEARS !!?

      DIZOZO - 2011-07-29 12:52

      True,you can say that again for the deaf and blind to see.

  • Advocate - 2011-07-29 11:42

    It is easy to say we're glad Zuma lost the case, but what about the legal advice he had been given? Dont they study the law. Does every decision the govt makes, have to be tested in court? Where did these guys study law? Havanna? Moscow? The judge should also be commeded for doing the right thing. Wish Jon Smit would also do the right thing.

      missmazwi - 2011-07-29 12:20

      Exactly. Who advised wrongly advised Zuma? That is surely the issue. As for Chief Justice, he clearly realised he would be embarrassed if the decision and his acceptance was found to be unconstitutional which explains his quick resignation 2 days ago. He knew they would lose. But you have to ask why the Chief Justice even accepted the extension? Surely he, of ALL PEOPLE, knows the law?

  • Neil - 2011-07-29 11:43

    Does the fact with Malema's investigation perhaps have something to do with this extension?

  • Pal Mabelane - 2011-07-29 11:45


  • Enigma - 2011-07-29 11:47

    ShowerHead sooooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • JakibZoomer - 2011-07-29 11:48

    Who cares!

  • edalsg - 2011-07-29 11:49

    We dont need a Chief Justice as there is now only ANC "justice". Zuma with a Std 4(honours) cant be blamed as he probably cant read.--oops I spilt my wine --luckily not hear the Zoomer Pez.

  • Harold - 2011-07-29 11:52

    who advises the poor man? They should be fired!!

      ZotBot - 2011-07-29 11:59

      They'll just be redeployed elsewhere so they can wreck another government department

      Martin du Plessis - 2011-07-29 12:02

      You;re assuming there are still departments in actual working order?

      GinSA1 - 2011-07-30 11:00

      Why 'poor man'. As the President of the country, even if (in fact especially if) he doesn't know something about the Constitution of the country he represents, it is his responsibility to FIND the answers. He is a true dumb-ass (can you go to jail here for insulting the Prez, like in Zim?) Idiot with idiots working beneath him, and more idiots voting for this illiterate twit!

  • Lionel - 2011-07-29 11:56

    And all of this could be avoided if that bunch of cretins called government had tabled appropriate legislation in time, instead of being pig-headed about it - thanks to these morons, we've lost the services of an excellent judge.

  • Baas Frik - 2011-07-29 11:57

    I never doubted this. Zuma remains a huge disappointment and an embarrassment to all South Africans.

      Seanred - 2011-07-29 12:03


      markings - 2011-07-30 04:12

      Last night Zuma was reported as "having no regrets" about having made this unconstitutional move. What does that say about the man other than having no respect for the law and the people of this country.

  • arthur.amgen - 2011-07-29 11:57

    So running a country is not the same as running a liberation movement in exile. When will our ANC Government realise what makes the world tick? There advisers need to be advised.

  • scipio - 2011-07-29 11:57

    and this idiot is the president. god help south africa.

  • scipio - 2011-07-29 12:07

    The world knows this fool zuma has the iq of a carrot and the charm of an unflushed toilet.

  • Bheki - 2011-07-29 12:08

    THESE JUDGE MUST BE FIRED he is da judge who is racist to teh core and is a madam supporter, disgusting as Zuma is the presidant HE CAN DO WHAT HE WANTS WE ALECTED HIM TO DO SO and soon JUJU will do the same and be just as great VIVA VIVA ANC

      Muzi - 2011-07-29 12:11

      Comrade, lets not sound like DA idiots. lets submarine....

      kitchenboy3 - 2011-07-29 12:30

      even as an ANC supporter you cannot possibly be THAT stupid!! yes, you elected JZ for president but even he MUST operate within the law, not that that means much to him, but he cannot do as he pleases

      sipholess - 2011-07-29 12:31

      Bheki the pheki and Muzi the fluzi, you guys should start a new band together, "THE VIRUS PEOPLE"

      Neil - 2011-07-29 12:32

      @Muzi: You mean submerge you idiot.

      Neil - 2011-07-29 12:33

      @Bheki: Will he be governing from prison?

      Breech - 2011-07-29 12:45

      @bheki. WOW!!! I cannot beleive the ignorance! HOW CAN A PERSON WITH YOUR BRAIN CAPACITY STILL BE BREATHING!!!! The anc will put the country in a slum!!! Especially if juju becomes president!!! If the day comes that he is president the country DIES!!!!!! THATS NO LIE!!!!!!!!!!!

      Dave - 2011-07-29 13:05

      you need help brother

      Muzi - 2011-07-29 13:50

      I actually meant "submarine".... the comrades will understand the lingo...

      willieman - 2011-07-29 13:57

      you are not telling the truth,you know you are not genuine

      scipio - 2011-07-29 14:34

      ha, you little wind up merchant you. i know your not serious. you are a teaser eh.

      miya7 - 2011-07-29 15:50

      Comrade Bheki I second comrade Muzi whit due respect can yu plz declaine yo statement not for the sake DA just for the sake of the mission of the ANC Amandla !!!

  • keithy - 2011-07-29 12:09

    Is our president ...and his well paid advisors not capable of learning and adhering to the constitution. For goodness sake, that is the basic fundamental rule to abide by!!!

      Candidapax - 2011-07-29 13:36

      Keithy, I hold no brief for Zuma but you and many people on this forum are missing the point: there is provision in the Remuneration of Judges Act (can't remember the correct title) which allows the president to extend the term of the Chief Justice. That section in the Act is the one that was found unconstitutional. In other words, Zuma applied that law which as it turned out, did not accord with the constitution. To a lay person, whether Zuma had or had not extended the term of Judge Ngcobo, the section in question would still be unconstitutional.

      Muzi - 2011-07-29 13:58

      @Candi...: They won't understand you. They are blinDAd..

      keithy - 2011-07-29 16:14

      Candidapax, as I said, does this always have to waste the tax payers money by going to constitutional court? Does this government not have qualified advisors that can interperet the law and the constitution correctly, before making descisions like this?

  • Stryder - 2011-07-29 12:15

    I would like to thank the honourable Judge for stepping down without being forced to. In these dark times it is good to see that there are still people who act ethically regardless of the law. The fact that the court has now found this action to be unconstitutional is fantastic news. But kudos to Sandile Ngcobo for doing the right thing regardless.

      missmazwi - 2011-07-29 12:24

      I reckon the judge was blinded by money (they earn gazillions) maybe there are past favours owed. You have to wonder about Judges who don't know the LAW. He made an error of judgement

  • bill - 2011-07-29 12:27

    How much longer is the anc going to inflict this uneducated ,incompetent and embarrasing "president" on us?He should be recalled before he does further damage.

      Van-Der-Moodley - 2011-07-29 12:48

      The damage is beyond repair already.

  • John Jameson - 2011-07-29 12:28

    We as South Africans know far too little about what is in our constitution. Every citizen should be given a copy in hand the day he gets his ID document and everyone should pass a basic test on the constitution before being allowed to vote. Hmm, I wonder if that idea is unconstitional. Anyway, it seems that some among us may require a picture-book version to help them understand that THE PRESIDENT MAY NOT EXTEND THE TERM OF A CONSTITUTIONAL JUDGE.

  • umhlopo - 2011-07-29 12:33

    99% if what the evolutionary challenged egghead and his butwipe mallemmer do is unconstitutional,and most of the r soles that vote for them dont even know that SA has a constitution

  • Free_man - 2011-07-29 12:34

    And the Days of our Lives continue . . . what a joke !!

  • Mark Crawford - 2011-07-29 12:40

    Another clear scenario where our prsident upholds the constitution, NOT!

  • Sinqulile - 2011-07-29 12:40

    That is law at its best even those who have the highest qualification they can still be caught iterms of technicality.

  • Chris - 2011-07-29 12:45

    Wonder how much longer the Constitutional Court Judges will survive to embarrass the Luthuli House deployed cronies repeatedly.

  • Michael - 2011-07-29 12:45

    I find it a bit strange that the president can appoint the Jusdge President but cannot extend his term.Obviously before he appoints him,he nominates him and asks for the blessings in parliament,after the JSC has interviewed and recommended the candidates to him,it's a bit unusual. Why doesn't the JSC perhaps give the recommended names to the Justice committee in parliament,allow them to deliberate on them and come out with the name and then give the rest of parliament the one name and let them give blessings on that?.By so doing,Parliament appoints and extends if they want to and delete this contradictory s8a.

  • Dal68 - 2011-07-29 12:50

    Dumb, dumber.........anc

  • Mordred - 2011-07-29 12:52


  • Witham - 2011-07-29 13:07

    If they had gone the correct route (via Parliament) the approval would have been given without opposition. I gather the DA was well deposed towards Chief Justice.

  • vusi22 - 2011-07-29 13:09

    This is good for democracy

  • george60 - 2011-07-29 13:15

    Shame uncle Mac you said Showerhead is within the constitition and Redebe confirmed that? Who has kissed Showerhead's butt here, I betyou its Mac? Regarding picking up the tab for the court case, will most probably forward I O U's to the justise department? Regarding where did they study law, I telling you all they have studied is 'funnyga law' from some Bossboy from some mine?

      Candidapax - 2011-07-29 13:39

      @george60, I hold no brief for Zuma but you and many people on this forum are missing the point: there is provision in the Remuneration of Judges Act (can't remember the correct title) which allows the president to extend the term of the Chief Justice. That section in the Act is the one that was found unconstitutional. In other words, Zuma applied that law which as it turned out, did not accord with the Constitution. To a lay person, whether Zuma had or had not extended the term of Judge Ngcobo, the section in question would still be unconstitutional.

  • Rocky_III - 2011-07-29 13:25

    Imagine Zuma going now Eish what's thes constipation thing HUH. I don't know

  • ProfDoc18 - 2011-07-29 13:32

    Zuma used the unconstitutional Act to extend the Judges term in the Office. The question is, who formulated this Act??? Did Zuma step in the Office & change all the Laws & procedures?? The story context itself is misleading. The President chose one of the rule available in the Judges Remuneration and conditions of Employment Act. Therefore a person who formulated the Act is unconstitutional. Whether its Parliament, Justice Ministry, or Department of Labour. It is also interesting to see that all these opposing groups waited until the Act was used. My question is, didnt anyone noticed that the Act was unconstitutional when it was drafted?? Acts like these are presented in Parliament for approval before implemented. Now the questions is, during the day of this Act approval, where were the representative of these Councils?? Where were the opposition parties?? When exactly was this Act approved??? If you have logic you will get the picture. Bottom Line, to say that President Zuma is unconstitutional, is misleading & a false accusation.

  • Linda - 2011-07-29 13:47

    Surely Judge Ngcobo - as the Chief Justice of SA - should have known that Zuma's attempt to extend his contract was unconstitutional?! Why did he wait for the day before the Constitutional Court ruling to withdraw his acceptance of the extension of his contract - he should have advised Zuma that it was unconstitutional when Zuma proposed the extension of his contract....

  • ProfDoc18 - 2011-07-29 13:48

    Its unfortunate that in SA a certain race group always believe & things that they are superior than the others. If that is the case, I then challenge them to prove it! Academically & otherwise. You cant even engage with some of them in topics because they have a mentality of viewing things with a racial angle. If you think you can be a better President, Leader, Academic or do better than those 'Labelled' person. Why dont you take a stand & show it by Deeds??? Only stupid people will believe the context & Angle at which this story is conveyed. We are certainly not fools or Idiots as to not to see as to what conclusion should this story potray.

  • johan - 2011-07-29 14:17


  • Dikgoshi - 2011-07-29 15:44

    Yippee!!!...... Another 10 points for Justice in sunny or should i say freezy :) SA...... I don't care what the ANC cronnies say, they will have to learn to respect the law...... They can't just chop and change as it suits them...... To all SA citizens, the ConCourt is one institution we should defend with our lives if needs be.......

  • MIM128 - 2011-07-29 17:03

    JZ must fire the whole lot, including Radebe, State Law Advisor, State Attorney and Moerane (Kemp. J. kemp)

  • Viking - 2011-07-29 20:54

    What a tragic day of deep concern, if the State President knows so little of the Constitution and his advisers are of such a poor quality that he makes a wrong decision on a clear-cut matter like this. Cry my beloved country!

      mylord - 2011-07-29 21:31

      how do yu know that yu sound drunk evry day poeple do unconstutusinal thg do yu say ar all unawere.sirhama ufna ukweluswa kwedini

  • Heks - 2011-07-29 21:47

    Zooma and the justice minister will NOT pay costs the tax payer will!

  • Sheda Hab - 2011-07-30 12:01

    Zuma is unconstitutional. We have "independant" electoral commission at elections and they are all ANC card carrying members - the whole of our electorate is unconstituional. Viva the machine gun.

      tiotudg - 2011-07-30 13:03

      Kan hy konstitusioneel spel?

  • tiotudg - 2011-07-30 13:00

    Wat gee Zuma om, hy mors vrolik voort met die belastingbetalers se geld - so wat?

  • Anonymous123 - 2011-07-30 14:30

    Anonymous South Africa to raise world wide awareness for government corruption and censorship in South Africa and provide information on how to protest in relative safety see.