Madlanga cites leadership positions to show he is suitable chief justice
Constitutional Court justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga listed leadership positions he has held to show he is able to lead the judiciary.
Madlanga is one of four candidates being interviewed this week by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for the position of chief justice. Others are Gauteng judge president Dunstan Mlambo, Supreme Court of Appeal president Mandisa Maya and acting chief justice Raymond Zondo.
Madlanga was responding to a question from commissioner Thamsanqa Dodovu, who asked Madlanga to allay his concerns as he did not see Madlanga’s leadership role.
“There is demonstrable evidence of my leadership skills. I have led at various levels. I have even led a court,” Madlanga said, referring to his acting stint as judge president of the high court of the former Transkei.
“I was for years a member of the executive committee of the Transkei Society of Advocates. I later became its chair for two terms. I could only have been retained because there was a feeling I could lead,” he said.
Madlanga said for three years he was deputy chair of the Competition Tribunal.
“Before my appointment to the Constitutional Court, I was chief evidence leader in the Marikana Commission, leading a team of seven counsel, three of whom, including myself, were senior counsel,” he said.
Madlanga said he was in his fifth year as editor-in-chief of the South African Judicial Education journal, a demanding job.
He said he was also co-editing, with judge Nambitha Dambuza, a book to be published to mark 10 years of the existence of the SA Judicial Education Institute. Madlanga said chapter contributions will come from fellow judges.
I led a court as acting judge president of the Transkei high court with tangible resultsConstitutional Court justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga
“Most importantly, I led a court as acting judge president of the Transkei high court with tangible results.”
He said when he led the court for a short time, he realised there were bottlenecks at circuit courts.
“Circuit would only be for a week. Judges hardly ever finalised cases. They would pick up part-heard matters. I identified this as a serious problem and decided to increase circuit work to two weeks. That small change did bear fruit immediately. Judges were better able to finalise cases and pick up fewer part-heards.”
Dodovu said there had been criticism about the quality of judgments coming from the Constitutional Court, with some saying they were incoherent and lacked reasoning.
Madlanga said it would be difficult to respond to the criticism without knowing the specifics.
Madlanga said the system recently introduced at the Constitutional Court would free up a lot of time for judges, and the court would be better able to attend in more detail to its judgments.
“Even the editorial errors, citations and so on, which we have been criticised for and, quite correctly, I think with more time, we will be able to address those,” Madlanga said.
The interview continues.
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