The Democratic Alliance (DA) has recommended that Madame Justice Leona Theron be considered to fill the vacancy in the Constitutional Court bench.
DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, has written that after a thorough scrutiny of all 4 candidates put forward by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), the party believes Madame Justice Theron to be the best choice.
His and his party’s thoughts came as a response to president Jacob Zuma’s constitutionally obligated move to seek input and guidance from the opposition party.
“Madame Justice Theron is a candidate of significant experience, obvious legal expertise and heft, and demonstrable independence of thought and opinion”, reads the response by Maimane. “Furthermore, her appointment to the bench of the Constitutional Court will add to the gender diversity of the highest Court. We therefore have no hesitation in supporting her appointment”.
Justice Theron holds Ba BA and LLB from the University of Natal, as well as a LLM degree from the University of Georgetown, Washington DC, in the United States. She has filled lecturing positions at the University of Natal and at the Mangosuthu Technikon in Umlazi.
The vacancy in the ConCourt, left by Justice Johann van der Westhuizen in January last year, has been a topic of debate for quite some time. Following an initial “lack of interest” in the position as described by the JSC, four names – the bare minimum according to the constitution – were presented before the president.
However, complaints laid against one of the initial candidates sent the JSC back to the drawing board.
As things stand five candidates have been presented by the commission. These candidates, including Justice Theron, are Supreme Court Justices Malcolm Wallis, Stevan Majiedt, Boissie Mbha and High Court Judge Jody Kollapen.
The DA has stated that the independence of the candidate is of utmost importance to selecting who will fill a position in the country’s highest court.
Yet, the final decision will be left to the president.