GAUTENG Acting Deputy Judge President Willem van der Merwe, who acquitted President Jacob Zuma on a rape charge, has been recommended for the post of Judge President for Gauteng - a position Zuma must now confirm or reject.
But Judicial Service Commission spokesperson Dumisa Ntsebeza said though there might be a perception in some quarters that this could be a reward for the acquittal in 2006, Zuma had nothing to do with the recommendation process.
"President Zuma is merely acting on the advice of the JSC ..."
Ntsebeza was speaking on the sidelines of a press conference to announce the JSC's recommendations for 30 vacancies countrywide. He said Van der Merwe had presided over many cases in his career, including that of jailed Vlakplaas commander Eugene de Kok.
The vote for the recommendations to Zuma was done by secret ballot and the initial nominations came from professional and individual bodies and went through a long process before a final list was drawn up.
Zuma's previous court travails, which include an abandoned corruption trial, raised similar concerns about a potential conflict of interest last year when he had to confirm recommendations to posts on the Constitutional Court, which had had to decide on an aspect of his corruption trial before he became president. - Sapa