Former President Jacob Zuma and the Jacob Zuma Foundation have requested the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to review and overturn the appointment of Judge Raymond Zondo as Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. This move comes after Zuma and the foundation challenged Zondo’s appointment in May, demanding that President Ramaphosa reverse his decision.
Ntanga Nkuhlu, the attorneys representing the Zuma Foundation, raised concerns about Zondo’s appointment in a letter to Ramaphosa. The letter highlighted Zondo’s ‘clearly untruthful and dishonest’ account of privately held meetings with Zuma during the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) interviews.
Zuma and the foundation previously filed an application in September to declare Ramaphosa’s conduct in appointing Zondo as Chief Justice as unconstitutional and to review and overturn the decision. Ramaphosa and the JSC have responded by opposing the application and will provide the court with the record of proceedings and deliberations regarding the JSC’s recommendations and Ramaphosa’s decision.
Zuma’s spokesperson, Mzwanele Manyi, emphasized that Zondo received the lowest number of votes from the JSC during the interviews. Manyi questioned the rationale behind Ramaphosa’s decision to appoint Zondo despite his unsuitability for the position and poor performance during the public interview.
The Zuma Foundation also raised concerns about gender discrimination, as Judge Mandisa Maya, who received the highest votes, was overlooked for the position. Manyi argued that this conduct is in breach of the equality clause and the Constitution’s prohibition of gender discrimination.
The appointment of Zondo as Chief Justice came after the JSC recommended Judge Mandisa Maya for the position. Ramaphosa consulted with the JSC and leaders of parties in the National Assembly before making his decision. However, the Zuma Foundation has taken issue with Zondo’s appointment more than a year later.