‘She’s too moody’ – what judges said at JSC interviews

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This was the shortest of all the interviews heard so far by the JSC‚ sitting in Midrand‚ Johannesburg. Some interrogations have dragged on for up to four hours.

Djadje has been recommended to President Jacob Zuma to take on the role.

The interview of her only competitor for the post‚ Magistrate Maletsatsi Mahalelo‚ who has much more experience as an acting judge at the High Court‚ took a nose-dive when the JSC questioned her on claims that she had accused a candidate attorney‚ who was her clerk at the time‚ of theft.

The candidate attorney submitted a document in which he said he had been embarrassed and had his name tarnished as police officers were called in.

Mahalelo‚ however‚ maintained that she had simply questioned him about her missing glasses and she was not the one who had summoned the police. She was not recommended for the single vacant position.

Meanwhile‚ after hearing from two candidates contesting for the position of the North West Deputy Judge President‚ the JSC will not be recommending either of them for the post.

Between Judge Rodney Hendricks and Judge Annah Kgoele‚ it was Kgoele who had a more rigorous interview‚ during which Judge President Monica Leeuw was blatant in her disapproval of Kgoele.

Leeuw portrayed Kgoele as a moody person‚ who she “simply did not get along with”. Leeuw subjected Kgoele to a cross-examination style of questioning‚ even causing Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng‚ who is heading the interviews‚ to intervene.

Northern Cape High Court Judge Violet Phatshoane‚ whom a colleague believed was being “groomed” by Judge President Frans Kgomo to take the deputy position was not recommended for the post.

Phatshoane was meant to have contested for the position alongside her colleague Judge Cecile Williams‚ who is seven years her senior.

But Williams withdrew from the interview process and sent a letter to the JSC‚ stating that she believed Phatshoane was already being prepped for the position.

It was unclear whether this was Williams’s only reason for withdrawing but Kgomo‚ who was part of the JSC‚ revealed that he had alerted all the judges in his division of the vacancy‚ and went as far wishing everyone luck. Phatshoane also told the JSC that she got along with Williams and the only incident she could recall where Williams clashed with a colleague was when she wrote a judgment in Afrikaans.

Another judge who was not conversant in Afrikaans had told Williams she would be unable to add her input as she could not read the judgment. Williams was alleged to have responded by telling her to “consult a dictionary”.

Williams was meant to be interviewed for both the Deputy Judge President as well as the Judge President post. Her absence meant the incumbent Deputy Judge President‚ Lazarus Tlaletsi‚ would be the only candidate to be interviewed for the Judge President post.

Tlaletsi said there was no animosity between him and Williams and they had agreed to support each other‚ regardless of who may get the position.

Tlaletsi was recommended for the post.

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