President Zuma`s clarification on Justice Ngcobo

20 August 2009

The ANC Parliamentary Caucus notes the letter from President Jacob Zuma to leaders of opposition parties clarifying matters around the expression of his preferred candidate for the position of Chief Justice of South Africa.

The President`s letter sought to respond to the formal correspondence by opposition parties in Parliament expressing concerns, chief amongst which, on the President`s use of the word “appoint” instead of “nominate” during a media briefing to announce his nomination for Justice Ngcobo for the post of Chief Justice.

Caucus accepts the President`s clarification that the use of the word "appoint" in response to a question from the media was inadvertent, and does not in any way seek to change the fact that he intended to nominate in order to pave way for a broad consultation process.

We affirm that indeed there is nowhere in the Constitution where the President is barred from expressing his preferred nominee for the position of the Chief Justice.

In terms of Section 174 of the Constitution, the President is required to consult with the Judicial Service Commission and leaders of parties represented in Parliament before appointing the Chief Justice.

The President has on a number of occasions, through words and concrete action, demonstrated willingness to work with all political parties on matters of national interest. We have no reason to doubt his commitment in this regard.

Issued by
The Office of the ANC Chief Whip
Parliament of the Republic of SA
Cape Town

Moloto Mothapo: 082 370 6930