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Raymond Zondo seemed out of touch with the judiciary, says expert

Acting chief justice Raymond Zondo was the last candidate interviewed for the chief justice position.
DD060421 zondo2 Acting chief justice Raymond Zondo was the last candidate interviewed for the chief justice position.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Acting chief justice Raymond Zondo was consumed by the commission of inquiry into state capture and seemed out of touch with issues affecting the judiciary.

This is according to Mbekezeli Benjamin, research and advocacy officer at Judges Matter who was commenting on Zondo’s performance in his interview for the position of chief justice.

Zondo was on Friday the last candidate to be interviewed. Supreme Court of Appeal president Mandisa Maya, justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga and Gauteng judge president Dunstan Mlambo are the other candidates nominated for the position.

“He didn’t do so well. It showed in the question he was asked about how out of touch he was when he had spent so much time at the commission. This echoed an earlier question about the judges not having had a conference in a long time,” Benjamin said.

“There was a question about his role in the court modernisation process. He said he did not know about it but he would support it if appointed.”

Zondo, Mbekezeli said, seemed as if he had been consumed by the state capture commission.

“In essence he was saying he was not involved in issues of the judiciary. On the question of the time he has remaining, he could not give an answer on how this has an impact on his eligibility to take up the job,” Benjamin said.

In his interview, like the other candidates, Zondo was asked if it was appropriate for judges to meet politicians in private spaces.

EFF leader Julius Malema specifically asked Zondo about his meeting with former president Jacob Zuma in 2008.

“In principle, [Julius] Malema is correct that it was inappropriate for Zondo to meet Zuma,” said Benjamin.

For someone who has been in his position for a while, Zondo did not give a big picture of where he wants to take the judiciary.

Zondo had also not given a convincing answer when asked if he was aware of the challenges his colleagues faced, Benjamin said.


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