JSC shake-up as Ramaphosa axes advocate Griffiths Madonsela, selects Sesi Baloyi

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  • Advocate Griffiths Madonsela has been removed from the Judicial Service Commission. 
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa replaced Madonsela with advocate Mabel Sesi Baloyi. 
  • Ramaphosa has informed leaders of various political parties in Parliament about his decision. 

In yet another shake-up at the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), President Cyril Ramaphosa has decided to axe one of his representatives, advocate Griffiths Madonsela SC. 

Madonsela's removal and replacement by respected senior counsel, advocate Sesi Baloyi, comes after Advocates for Transformation replaced Dali Mpofu as its representative.

AFT is now represented by Kameshni Pillay SC. 

Ramaphosa informed leaders of various political parties in Parliament about his decision to replace Madonsela. 

He also asked them to comment or add any additional information they would like to bring to his attention regarding the possible designation of Baloyi to the JSC on or before 26 March.  

Griffiths Madonsela, right, walks with fellow lawyers Zama Mtshali and Dinesha Deeplal.

Madonsela was one of four JSC members who had voted against Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe, facing impeachment in Parliament for the gross misconduct findings made against him from 13 years ago.  

Hlophe was found guilty of misconduct in April 2021 and in August 2021 it was recommended that he be impeached - a process that involved getting two thirds of the National Assembly to vote for him to go.

During the chief justice interviews last month, Madonsela was criticised by some for trying to use the JSC platform to play politics in his line of questioning. 

READ | Ramaphosa appoints Zondo as Chief Justice

This was after he questioned Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo about allegations of bias and how he tended to find in favour of President Cyril Ramaphosa and against Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

Madonsela put complaints by an organisation "Democracy in Action" to Mlambo.

The group, which had litigated in support of former president Jacob Zuma and Mkhwebane, complained that his rulings on the Public Protector were "incoherent".

Adriaan Basson | Dali Mpofu - a legal nincompoop and scoundrel

Mlambo was part of the bench that found "nothing wrong" with former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela ordering that former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng should choose the judge to head the State Capture Inquiry.

In the second case, Mkhwebane found that Ramaphosa had benefitted personally from the CR17 campaign funding. She then ordered the Speaker of Parliament to subject him to an ethics investigation.

But Mlambo said there was no factual basis to this finding, adding that Ramaphosa was not a Member of Parliament - and, as such, the Speaker had no power over him.

In the same report, Mkhwebane ordered the National Prosecuting Authority to investigate Ramaphosa and report back to her in 30 days - but Mlambo said she was not entitled to do so.

Mlambo said the facts of these two cases were different.

ALSO READ | Judiciary operates in a somewhat 'toxic environment' - Judge Mlambo

However, Madonsela said there was a suggestion that Mlambo appeared to be making judgments in favour of Ramaphosa and "castigating" Zuma in all his judgments.

Mlambo said people were at liberty to make comments, but "facts are facts".

"I have no soft spot for President Cyril Ramaphosa, and I have nothing against former president Jacob Zuma; nothing whatsoever as a judge," he had told the JSC.  

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