President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday appointed Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo as the next Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa with effect from 1 April 2022.
“The president’s decision follows consultation with the Judicial Service Commission and leaders of parties in the National Assembly on four nominees for appointment as chief justice,” said the Presidency.
In terms of the constitution, the chief justice is “the head of the judiciary and exercises responsibility over the establishment and monitoring of norms and standards for the exercise of the judicial functions of all courts”.
With Justice Zondo assuming the position of the chief justice, the position of deputy chief Justice will become vacant.
“President Ramaphosa has accordingly indicated his intention, once the new chief justice assumes office, to nominate Justice Mandisa Maya for the position of deputy chief justice,” revealed the Presidency.
“This nomination will be subject to the process outlined in Section 174(3) of the Constitution.”
In September 2021, Ramaphosa invited public nominations for the position of Chief Justice.
The president appointed a panel, chaired by Judge Navanethem Pillay, to evaluate nominations made by the public and to shortlist nominees who fulfilled the advertised requirements for nomination.
After considering the Report of the Nomination Panel, Ramaphosa identified the four candidates for consideration for appointment including Justices Mbuyiseli Madlanga, Mandisa Maya, Dunston Mlambo, and Raymond Zondo.
The president then invited the Judicial Service Commission and leaders of parties in the National Assembly to express their views regarding the suitability of any of the four nominees for appointment as Chief Justice.
Ramaphosa expressed his gratitude to each of the nominees for making themselves available for the position of the head of the judiciary.
He also expressed his gratitude to the Judicial Service Commission, the leaders of political parties, the members of the nomination panel and the many South Africans who submitted nominations.
“The inclusive process of selecting the next Chief Justice demonstrated not only the value that South Africans place on the judiciary, but also the depth of experience and capability within the senior ranks of the judiciary,” Ramaphosa said.
The Judicial Service Commission had interviewed all four candidates and recommended that Ramaphosa appoint the President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, 57-year-old Justice Maya, as Chief Justice.
However, the president used his prerogative and appointed 61-year-old Justice Zondo, who chaired the Judicial Commission of Inquiry Into State Capture, Corruption, and Fraud In the Public Sector Including Organs of State.