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Our judge selection process makes us proud

Speaking of SA judges, there are two vacancies in the Constitutional Court. This is one of our most respected institutions that has repeatedly kept us as a society on track during the darkest times. So we’re glad to see five solid candidates in the running for the job following recent interviews. 

The interviews themselves are part of a rigorous selection process we should be proud of. It is very difficult for the president or ruling party to influence, unlike in the US where nominations for its top court are made by the president, justices serve for life and candidates do not have to have any qualifications. 😲 SA’s top justices serve for a non-renewable 12-year term and experience and qualifications are everything. The Judicial Services Commission, which includes representatives ranging from established judges to those across the political spectrum, votes for the shortlist via secret ballot after intensive interviews. Our President makes the final decision on the names presented. 
Our fave loud-mouth EFF leader Julius Malema, who is a member of the JSC, grabbed the opportunity to be back in the spotlight and made headlines with his politicised questions of some candidates – and ad lib attacks on the judiciary as a whole. As one columnist noted, the EFF hasn’t had much space to shine during the pandemic given that it relies on the “politics of spectacle”. And storming out of a Zoom meeting just isn’t that theatrical.😂 But his comments won’t go unchallenged, given he was there as a representative of parliament, not the EFF. Parliament has distanced itself from his attacks on judges during the interviews and has been asked by civic body Casac to take action.

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 15 April 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.