South Africa’s JSC recommends Justice Mandisa Maya as next chief justice, Cyril’s ally loses out

Justice Mandisa Maya

Johannesburg – The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) will recommend Supreme Court of Appeal President Justice Mandisa Maya as the next chief justice of South Africa.

JSC spokesperson Dali Mpofu made the announcement about 6.30pm on Saturday shortly after an eight-hour-long session of deliberations.

The discussions took place behind closed doors at a Sandton hotel where the interviews of each candidate took place during the week.

Four of the country’s top judges faced 22 JSC commissioners’ questions when they sat for their interviews.

On Tuesday, Constitutional Court Judge Mbuyiseli Madlanga was first in the hot seat.

He was followed by the now recommended Justice Maya on Wednesday.

Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo faced the grilling on Thursday and Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo was the final candidate on Friday.

At the media briefing on Saturday, Mpofu said that President Cyril Ramaphosa was clearly not bound by what the JSC or political parties recommended as the Constitution stated the president should appoint a suitable chief justice after consultation with the JSC and political parties in the National Assembly.

He said the deliberations “understandably” took a long time as “it is one of the most difficult things to do in a democracy”.

He added that the JSC was not concerned that the nomination could be considered controversial given the manner in which the interviews had been conducted, including unsubstantiated allegations of sexual harassment made against Judge President Mlambo which was later expunged from the record.