Interview process for Constitutional Court halted as candidate withdraws

04 October 2016 - 14:53 By Franny Rabkin
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In a dramatic turn‚ interviews for the appointment of a judge to the Constitutional Court were derailed on Tuesday‚ because one of the candidates withdrew after it emerged that a last-minute complaint had been filed against him with the Judicial Service Commission.

Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) Justice Ronnie Bosielo’s withdrawal scuppered the entire Constitutional Court interview process‚ as the JSC is constitutionally required to give at least four names to President Jacob Zuma‚ from which list he would make his choice. There were only four candidates to be interviewed.

The details of the complaint were complex and sketchy to those in the audience during Bosielo’s interview‚ but appeared to relate to Bosielo’s involvement in bringing his village’s community in the North West into a black economic empowerment (BEE) deal with mining company Northam‚ over whose mine the community has a land claim.

During his interview‚ before he withdrew‚ Bosielo said his involvement was only to benefit the community and he had not personally benefited‚ but it was alleged that he personally benefited from the deal. He conceded that his wife was a director in a connected company‚ which stood to benefit.

After intense questions from commissioners and a tactful intervention by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng‚ Bosielo agreed that the JSC was not the correct forum at which to clear his name‚ and withdrew from the race.

Apart from Bosielo‚ the other Constitutional Court candidates to be interviewed were Steven Majiedt and Malcolm Wallis‚ and Gauteng High Court judge Jody Kollapen.

The latest setback comes at a time when there is an apparent lack of interest in appointment to the highest court‚ with few candidates coming forward in previous nomination rounds.

This time the JSC had also decided to fill only one vacancy‚ despite there being two vacancies in the Constitutional Court. TMG Digital/BDlive

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