- Raymond Zondo has assumed responsibility as acting chief justice from Thursday.
- Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng is still on long leave.
- Zondo is currently chairing the commission of inquiry into state capture.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has assumed responsibility as acting chief justice from Thursday, 1 July 2021, the Office of the Chief Justice announced on Friday
"As the chief justice is still on long leave as made known on 06 May 2021, and by application of the relevant legislation, namely Section 4 (2) (b) of the Superior Courts Act, 2013, the deputy chief justice will exercise the powers or perform the functions of the chief justice as the acting chief justice," judiciary spokesperson Nathi Mncube said in a statement.
The appointment of Justice Sisi Khampepe as Acting Deputy Chief Justice came to an end on 30 June 2021.
Mncube added that the work of the State Capture Inquiry, which Zondo chairs, has "reached a stage that puts the deputy chief justice in a position to fulfil his responsibilities as acting chief justice while attending to the finalisation of the commission's work".
Zondo is currently chairing the commission of inquiry into state capture. The inquiry was recently granted another extension by the High Court, affording it an additional three months to complete its three-year-long investigation.
News24 earlier reported that Judge Selby Baqwa said the Zondo Commission had "provided sufficient detail to convince the court there are sound reasons to avoid a situation where the commission would have to stop its work abruptly".
The announcement from the Office of the Chief Justice came just hours after News24 learnt that former president Jacob Zuma, who has been locked in a legal battle with Zondo and the commission, was planning to launch an urgent application against the Constitutional Court's finding against him this week.
On Tuesday, the apex court found Zuma in contempt of court for ignoring an instruction to return to the State Capture Inquiry and continue giving evidence.
Zuma, who has been implicated in allegations of state capture by several witnesses, appeared before the commission in 2019. But after returning to the commission last year, he stormed out and refused to answer questions.
When he failed to follow the court's instruction Zondo and the commission approached country's highest court, asking it to find Zuma in contempt of court and sentence him to two years in prison.
During the back-and-forth process, Zuma accused Zondo of being biased and asked him to recuse himself from the commission. Zondo stood firm and refused to step down.
Justice Sisi Khampepe, who penned the majority judgment which sentenced Zuma to 15 months in a KwaZulu-Natal prison, had been acting as chief justice after the sitting chief justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng, went on long leave in May.
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