Jz accused of abuse of power

FOUR opposition leaders yesterday accused President Jacob Zuma of abuse of power after his nomination of Sandile Ngcobo as chief justice.

FOUR opposition leaders yesterday accused President Jacob Zuma of abuse of power after his nomination of Sandile Ngcobo as chief justice.

The DA, Cope, ID and IFP released another joint statement yesterday after a complaint that was issued on Friday.

DA leader Helen Zille, Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota, ID leader Patricia de Lille and IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi have charged that Ngcobo's nomination was unconstitutional.

This was because Zuma announced his nomination before consulting the parties as is required by the Constitution.

"Not consulting the members of these institutions will result in the appointment being made entirely at the discretion of the head of the executive - a situation that lends itself to the abuse of power," the parties said.

" It was necessary to consult widely before the chief justice was appointed because by consulting widely one naturally gathers more information and opinions than was initially available," said the parties.

The parties said Zuma's office had sent them a communication about the matter - but only after he had announced Ngcobo's nomination.

"The fact that your communication arrived after your public announcement ... suggests to us that to provide you with our considered opinion now would fall short of the intended purpose of consultation."

But Zuma's office denied that there was anything unconstitutional in nominating Ngcobo to succeed Pius Langa, who retires later this year.

It was only a nomination and not an appointment, the Presidency said on its website.

"The president has nominated someone for the position of chief justice.

"There is nothing in the Constitution or law that prevents the president from indicating who his nominee is," the Presidency said.

Zuma said his announcement was only the beginning of a constitutional process.

"The president has initiated processes to consult with the Judicial Service Commission and leaders represented in the national assembly on his nominee, as required by the Constitution." - Sapa

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