Cyril shouldn't fall into the trap, plus five talking points from Vrye Weekblad

Here’s what’s hot in the latest edition of the Afrikaans digital weekly

11 February 2022 - 06:23 By TIMESLIVE
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President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa
Image: Jaco Marais/Pool

Instead of advising President Cyril Ramaphosa on the suitability of four judges on the shortlist for the position of chief justice, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) decided who should be appointed. 

Under the chairpersonship of inept judge Xola Petse the EFF’s Dali Mpofu and Julius Malema intimidated and influenced the 23 other members of the JSC to such an extent that the choice of judge Mandisa Maya became a straightforward majority decision.

Malema and Mpofu are familiar with the constitution and the process. They knew the JSC’s powers were being exceeded, but they couldn’t resist the temptation to call Ramaphosa’s bluff. The president had painted himself into a corner with his efforts to democratise the decision on a new chief justice. 

Most commentators agree he has no choice but to appoint Maya. I don’t concur. 

Minister of justice Ronald Lamola is known to have recommended judge Dunstan Mlambo to the president. Ultimately, the head of state won’t make the final decision without consulting his minister who is close to him politically.

Lamola’s verbal guerrilla attack on Malema was rather dramatic. To call a JSC commissioner a liar in front of millions of South Africans indicates considerable resentment. If Ramaphosa does appoint Maya, he will side with Malema and Mpofu against his minister.

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Mlambo’s passion for good administration is often mentioned and there is consensus in the legal fraternity that the administration in our courts and legal system can be chaotic. If it is hard to distinguish between the four judges on their intellectual impact, good administration should be a consideration. 

Zondo was in a league of his own in the interviews. But the legal system urgently needs a chief justice who can fix the administration of our courts. The administration of the JSC process and procedures should be attended to urgently. 

Mpofu knew Ramaphosa’s choice was between Zondo and Mlambo. He therefore packaged a false accusation in a question about rumours of sexual harassment he knew would cling to Mlambo. The damage was done. Mlambo had no choice but to try to explain himself. 

Ramaphosa will be overly careful in his decision. Zondo is his personal preference, but the acting chief justice is in the midst of the political minefield that is the inquiry into state capture. 

Ramaphosa’s final choice is simple and obvious: Mlambo should be the new chief justice. The president must not fall for the ambush Mpofu and Malema set him. 

Read the full article, and more news, analysis and interviews in this Friday's edition of Vrye Weekblad. 

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>> Browse the full February 11 edition

IT'S ONLY WORDS | Cyril Ramaphosa's state of the nation address was powerful, but South Africans have heard it all before without seeing improvement.

THE WAY THE COOKIE CRUMBLES | Stricter regulation of online privacy means that cookies, that collect large amounts of data from users, won't be with us for much longer. 

FREE TO READ — REDISCOVER YOUR SEXUALITY | Leán Bakker is one of SA's leading sexuality coaches. She is walking through her own deep spiritual and sexual awakening.

TRYING TINDER | It is part of the romantic reality. This time it looked like it could work. Finally, because she isn't willing to give up. 

A NIGHT IN BOERE ITALY | Artist Henk Serfontein takes an Uber to Parow. All along Voortrekker Road to Boere Italy and the iconic Harlequin Restaurant.

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