South Africa Appoints Ex-President’s Investigator as New Chief Justice

MAY 24, 2018. Hill on Empire, Johannesburg. Then Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo outlined progress made in the commission of inquiry into state capture involving the Gupta family and their associates. Former president Jacob Zuma set up the inquiry after being forced to do so by a court / PHOTOGRAPH: ALON SKUY

Raymond Zondo has been named as the new Chief Justice of South Africa by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Ramaphosa also announced on Thursday, March 10, that Mandisa Maya will be the first Black woman to serve as deputy chief justice.

The chief justice is the highest-ranking member of the South African judiciary and also serves as the president of the Constitutional Court, the country’s highest court. Since his predecessor, Mogoeng Mogoeng, retired last year, Zondo, 61, has served as interim chief justice.

Maya is the current President of the Supreme Court of Appeal in South Africa. She appeared to be the favorite for chief justice, having been recommended by the Judicial Service Commission after extensive interviews, but Ramaphosa chose Zondo instead.

“The Chief Justice stand as the champion of the rights of all South Africans and bears responsibility for ensuring equal access to justice. I have every confidence that Justice Zondo will acquit himself with distinction in this position,” said Ramaphosa.

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Zondo was also the chairman of the panel looking into widespread claims of corruption during former President Jacob Zuma’s presidency, which lasted from 2009 to 2018.

Three scathing reports were been produced by the panel, all of which according to the reports exposed widespread wrongdoing in the country under Zuma’s presidency.

The first three parts of Zondo’s reports are expected to result in criminal charges being filed against a number of former high-ranking officials.

Among them was the chairperson of the ruling ANC party and the mineral resources and energy minister, Gwede Mantashe, who said he would take the State Capture Commission report to judicial review.

The country’s prosecuting authority will likely criminally charge those implicated once the final part of the inquiry’s report is published.

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Last year, the Constitutional Court found Zuma guilty of contempt and condemned him to prison for his refusal to appear before the commission.

“The fact that I was lambasted with a punitive jail sentence without trial should engender shock in all those who believe in freedom and the rule of law,” Zuma said. “South Africa is fast sliding back to apartheid rule,” he added speaking of South African judges before going to prison.

Source: AP | DW

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