- Chief Justice Raymond Zondo called a media briefing on Thursday to respond to the media’s questions about his appointment.
- President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Zondo’s appointment over two weeks ago.
- Zondo says it is an honour to be appointed as chief justice.
Chief Justice Raymond Zondo says during his term as South Africa’s most powerful judge, he will send a message the judiciary is independent and will strive to ensure its independence is respected.
Zondo said he wanted to ensure the judiciary did so without fear in making decisions.
EXCLUSIVE | Zondo on his appointment: Ramaphosa was ‘bold’ given ‘my role’ on State Capture Inquiry
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the appointment of Zondo as the next chief justice more than two weeks ago.
On Thursday, Zondo called a media briefing to respond to questions from the media about his appointment.
These questions included the perceived loss of confidence in the judiciary.
Responding to this, Zondo told reporters it was not correct that people had lost confidence in the judiciary.
“I think, generally speaking, the judiciary enjoys a lot of confidence among South Africans,” he said, adding there might be those in society who have lost confidence in it.
Zondo said judges and magistrates should “remember that we are not in this position in order to be popular. We are in this position to administer justice, and we must accept that there will be cases where we make decisions that are unpopular.”
We can’t, as judges, seek to make decisions that will make analysts praise us or write beautifully about us. We must seek to do justice. If in doing justice people are happy, that’s fine.
He added when Ramaphosa told him about his appointment, he “felt the heaviness of the responsibility that comes with this type of appointment”.
Zondo said it was an “honour” to be appointed as chief justice.
He was shortlisted with judges Mbuyiseli Madlanga, Mandisa Maya and Dunston Mlambo.
After a contentious round of interviews, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), in an unusual step, recommended Maya for chief justice.
However, the JSC was widely criticised, and several commentators pointed out the president was not constitutionally obliged to follow its recommendation.
Zondo chaired the State Capture Inquiry, which is busy finalising its report. The first three parts of the report have already been published.
News24 reported his interview at the JSC was one of the flashpoints, as it descended into a screaming match between the usually reserved Justice Minister Ronald Lamola and EFF leader Julius Malema.
During the briefing on Thursday, Zondo said he believed all members of the JSC “will work very well with me”.
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