South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed seasoned jurist Raymond Zondo as the country’s new chief justice effective April 1.
The announcement was made in a statement released on Thursday, after a public selection process.
Newly appointed Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has only two and a half years left in his term of office.
Zondo, who has served as deputy chief justice at the Constitutional Court since 2017, became the public face of Ramaphosa’s anti-corruption drive while heading a recent national inquiry into allegations of widespread corruption under the presidency of Jacob Zuma, the previous head of state.
Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) President Mandisa Maya was the sole candidate recommended by the Judicial Service Commission.
However, in making the appointment, Ramaphosa says he has confidence in Zondo.
His appointment means the Deputy Chief Justice position will be vacant. Zondo has been acting in the position since the departure of Mogoeng Mogoeng.
Last year, the country’s highest Constitutional Court sentenced Zuma to 15 months imprisonment after he failed to appear at the Zondo corruption inquiry despite being instructed to so do.
In January, the inquiry’s first published report pointed to systemic corruption during Zuma’s tenure, following three years of investigation and more than 300 witnesses.
Ramaphosa replaced Zuma as president in 2018 after narrowly defeating him at a governing African National Congress party elective conference a few months earlier.
“The Chief Justice stand as the champion of the rights of all South Africans and bears responsibility for ensuring equal access to justice. I have every confidence that Justice Zondo will acquit himself with distinction in this position,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.
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