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South Africa set to appoint a new chief justice
23 Apr 2021 - 12:45
Opinion - by Emeritus Professor Hugh Corder
South Africa is set to appoint a new chief justice. The stakes have never been so high.
By October, South Africa’s Chief Justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng, will have finished his 12-year term at the helm of the Constitutional Court. How will his successor be selected, and what qualities are needed by the holder of this high office?
To answer these questions we need to understand the context. This is because the country’s judiciary has been increasingly drawn into party political wrangling and contestation.
Any form of constitutional democracy which allows judicial review of the exercise of public power thrusts the courts into the political limelight. Inevitably, acts and decisions of parliament, the president and cabinet will be challenged against the constitutional framework. The superior courts of the country provide the forum in which this plays out.