The presidency has replied Julius Malema’s letter about Zuma’s decision to appointment Raymond Zondo as South Africa’s Deputy Chief Justice instead of Justice Bess Nkabinde.
On Tuesday, the EFF leader wrote to Zuma, asking to rather appoint Justice Bess Nkabinde to the position instead of Zondo.
The EFF said it’s not kicking against Justice Zondo as a judge but that it strongly believes that a chance must be given to a black woman to inspire and advance the gender struggle against patriarchy.
Rejecting the move, the fighters argued that Zondo is not fit for the post because there are other Justices that have served in the Constitutional Court longer than him – like Justice Sisi Khampepe who is also a black woman and seasoned judge.
EFF’s Ndlozi also slated the president for failing for appointing a woman for the top post despite insisting in January that the country is ripe for a female president.
Replying the EFF, Zuma explained that Nkabinde – who is currently serving as the acting Chief Justice – is not fit for the post because she will be discharged from active service in December 2017.
A statement issued by the presidency on Wednesday said: “Constitutional Court judges hold office for a non-renewable term of 12 years.
The Acting Deputy Chief Justice will be discharged from active service on 31 December 2017 after serving a non-renewable term of 12 years at the Constitutional Court. It is mandatory that she retires on the completion of the 12-year term at the Constitutional Court.
The President does not have powers to extend the term of a Constitutional Court judge once she/he has served a full term.”
Zuma, however, pointed out that he holds Nkabinde “in very high regard and appreciates the fact that the EFF has thought of her as worthy of nomination”.
Who’s Justice Bess Nkabinde?
Nkabinde is a judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Her judicial career brought her to light in November 1999, when she was appointed to the Bophuthatswana division of the High Court of South Africa.
She was appointed to the Constitutional Court of South Africa by then-President Thabo Mbeki in 2006, amid controversy, replacing former President of the Constitutional Court of South Africa Arthur Chaskalson.
Chaskalson was also the Chief Justice of South Africa from 2001 to 2005.
She previously served acting stints on the Labour Court, Labour Appeal Court, and, in 2005, the Supreme Court of Appeal.
Justice Bess Nkabinde is known for her controversial judgments in S v Masiya, Lee v Minister of Correctional Services, and Botha v Rich. Her judgments in each of these cases attracted heavy criticism and backlashes in the country.