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Mpofu on collision course with JSC

SOUTH AFRICA’s top lawyer Dali Mpofu faces mounting pressure to be removed from Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

Mpofu who is known for going for jugular when cross examining, is said to have ‘irked’ the  Pretoria Society of Advocates, who have written to the General Council of the Bar (GCB) calling for his removal.

According PSA his questions to Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) president Mandisa Maya were found to be sexist.

During the nomination for the Chief Justice position interviews held in Sandton last week, Mpofu made a reference to a question when he asked Gauteng judge president Dunstan Mlambo about rumours of sexual harassment, that did not sit well with other panellists.

Mpofu also had a go at the acting chief justice Raymond Zondo during interview, as expected.

The society said it was perturbed by Mpofu’s behaviour and “unacceptable” performance during the interviews.

“To say that the process followed and the treatment of certain nominees, including acting chief justice Raymond Zondo and judge president Mlambo, was unfortunate would be an extreme understatement. It was shameful and has certainly done nothing to improve the reputation of the judiciary or the profession,” the Pretoria Society of Advocates said in a statement.

“Mpofu SC in the interview of judge president Mlambo descended into a character assassination where the judge president was without prior warning confronted with the allegation of a rumour that he was guilty of the sexual harassment of female aspiring acting judges,” said the organisation.

GCB said:” His inappropriate questioning of the candidates for appointment to the highest judicial position in the land, that of chief justice, is seen to have brought the profession into disrepute.”

“The spurious ad hominem attacks on Mlambo JP, during the course of which resort was had to highly destructive, and clearly unsubstantiated, “rumours” of sexual harassment of applicants for acting appointments, for which, on Mpofu SC’s own version, there was no factual basis, is seen to have been employed simply to taint the reputation of the honourable judge president and exclude him from consideration for appointment on this fabricated ground alone.

“The sexist nature of Mpofu SC’s questioning of SCA president Maya, resorting at the commencement of his questioning to totally inappropriate sexual innuendo, which was offensive and, once again, unprofessional and lacking in the decorum which the platform and interviewing process required, has heightened the concern,” said the GCB.

“The GCB has been requested by a number of constituent bars and individual members to seek the replacement of Mpofu SC on the JSC and is in discussions with AFT to that end,” the organisation said.

The organisation said Mpofu’s and EFF leader Julius Malema’s line of questioning of the candidates created an impression that they were using the JSC as a platform for some political end.

Former Constitutional Court judge and director at Freedom Under Law Johan Kriegler and Helen Suzman Foundation have called for both Mpofu and Malema to be removed from the panellists interviewing candidates for the CJ position. 

Mpofu is also facing disciplinary charges regarding his conduct at the state capture commission of inquiry.

Image (In hot water. Calls for advocate Dali Mpofu’s removal from JSC mounting).

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