He was being interviewed by the JSC‚ chaired by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng‚ in Midrand‚ Johannesburg‚ for the position of Mogoeng’s deputy.
“If I am appointed‚ I will remember‚ as I have throughout my career‚ that I come from communities that are very poor. Just because at a certain stage I became a lawyer‚ a judge‚ judge president or justice of the Constitutional Court‚ it doesn’t mean I am no longer part of those people‚” said Zondo.
“I should always remember that they are very important. If I am appointed as Deputy Chief Justice‚ that will always continue to be my attitude‚” he said‚ adding that “we shouldn’t behave as if we are Gods”.
The 56-year-old is currently a judge in the Constitutional Court.
He holds around 20 years of judicial experience.
Should he get the job‚ he would like to open a debate about changing the way trials are conducted.
Zondo proposed that trial matters be brought before the courts by way of affidavits‚ as trials are usually dragged out for longer than necessary because parties tend to withhold evidence until it is convenient to present it.
“Affidavits would force that everyone disclose [what they have] beforehand‚” he said.
Mogoeng has worked alongside Zondo quite well and at times requested him to take over events he could not attend himself.
The pair have known each other since 1981‚ after meeting at the University of Zululand. They have been friends since then.
Thoko Didiza‚ who was the ANC’s mayoral candidate in Tshwane‚ is also one of the JSC commissioners. She‚ too‚ declared that she had known Zondo for a long time. She said Zondo was “a family friend”.
Zondo admitted to being nervous as he took as his seat before the commissioners.
“Despite the fact that I am coming to this commission for the seventh time‚ I am a bit nervous‚” he said‚ letting out a nervous laugh.
Earlier‚ he became emotional as he told the panel about his long path to success.
Answering questions posed by Mogoeng‚ Zondo told the panel that after he matriculated‚ he approached an Indian shop owner‚ known as Moosa‚ to ask for a loan to ensure his mother was fed while he went to university to study law.
Moosa agreed and every month his mother was allowed to collect groceries worth R20 from his shop.
When Zondo completed his degree‚ he returned to pay the loan.
“But [Moosa] said‚ ‘Don’t worry‚ just do to others what I have done to you‚’” said Zondo‚ reaching for a white handkerchief from his pocket to wipe his eyes.
Zondo has been nominated by President Jacob Zuma to fill the post left vacant by Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.
Zondo’s appointment to the Constitutional Court five years ago was met with reports that he had always been Zuma’s favoured candidate for the post. Zondo rejected the claims.