President Jacob Zuma plans to appoint Justice Raymond Zondo as the Deputy Chief Justice, while his party is arguing over how judges should be appointed.
On Friday, Zuma's spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga said that Zuma had, in line with the Constitution, "written to political leaders represented in the National Assembly on his intention to appoint Mr Justice Raymond Zondo as the Deputy Chief Justice".
Justice Zondo has been an acting judge of the Constitutional Court since 2011, a judge of the Concourt since 2012 and was previously Judge President of the Labour Appeal Court. He started his career as a legal clerk to Victoria Mxenge at her law firm in Durban; she was subsequently assassinated by apartheid forces.
This is to replace Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke who retired in May 2016.
Ngqulunga said that the president was "required to consult, among others, with leaders of political parties represented in the National Assembly on the appointment of the Deputy Chief Justice. President Zuma has also consulted Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng as the chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission".
Meanwhile the ANC is debating internally the way that judges are appointed, reported the Sunday Times.
The party reportedly wants the Judicial Services Commission — which appoints judges — to relook at appointment criteria for judges. The proposal is in an ANC discussion document for the party's policy conference coming up in June, said the newspaper, adding that the party has previously complained that some judges are "counter-revolutionary" and opposed to transformation.
"You must promise to defend fearlessly the independence of the judiciary, the rule of law and the full realisation of the basic rights that our Constitution affords to each one of our people," Justice Moseneke told his final sitting of the Concourt on the day he retired.
"You will be very much part of the transformation enterprise and the democratic project to make our country reflect the text and living spirit of our Constitution. Fidelity to our oath of office is important, not because we are important but because without it, it is not us, but our people who will suffer," said Justice Moseneke.
"You are the ultimate guardians of our Constitution for and on behalf of our people."