‘We just don’t get along’ – North West judge president surprises JSC with hostile interview tactics
Naledi Shange | 2017-04-05 21:54:00.0
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng compared her style of questioning to cross-examination as she dug into Kgoele‚ seemingly suggesting that she was uncooperative and failed to deliver on allocated tasks. File photo
Image by: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Mary-Ann Palmer
The Judicial Service Commission was left startled by North West Judge President Monica Leeuw who failed to conceal her disapproval of a High Court Judge being interviewed as her potential deputy on Wednesday.
Alarm bells rang as soon as Judge Leeuw started questioning Judge Annah Kgoele who was vying for the position of North West Deputy Judge President.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng compared her style of questioning to cross-examination as she dug into Kgoele‚ seemingly suggesting that she was uncooperative and failed to deliver on allocated tasks.
“It is not true that we have a good relationship‚” Judge Leeuw told the JSC after being quizzed by Mogoeng at the end of the interview.
“She has on and off days…. On some days she would come into the tea room and not talk to anyone and on the third day she would be fine‚” she said.
But a calm‚ cool and collected Kgoele said she knew nothing about this.
“It is unfortunate that my JP [Justice President] says that but I still maintain that I do not have any ill-feeling or grudge against my JP. In my view‚ as I have already said‚ our relationship is good‚” said Kgoele.
“Even as far as conduct is concerned I think it should have been brought to my attention sooner‚” she added.
Kgoele however‚ refused to be drawn into a debate on the matter‚ saying this would just be her word against that of the Judge President.
Although Kgoele had stumbled across a few questions during her interview‚ she told the JSC that should she be appointed‚ “it will be history in the making to have both DP and JP be women.”
But one of the commissioners‚ Sfiso Msomi who had picked up on the tension between the two‚ asked Kgoele how she would work with someone who perceived her as a “problem child.”
“As a DJP [Deputy Judge President]‚ I am supposed to support my JP. She will remain my senior whom I expect to delegate work to me which I will do as I have done in the past eight years‚” said Kgoele.
“If you look at it‚ the complaints are not that I am not an unfit judge. It means I work professionally. I do my job when allocated and I will not refuse to do my job.”
But all this was said before Judge Leeuw’s big revelation that the pair do not gel.
The JSC deliberated behind closed doors on whether Kgoele should be recommended for the post.
The only other candidate who was interviewed for the position was Judge Rodney Hendricks.
The JSC is expected to make a recommendation in support of one of the candidates to President Jacob Zuma.
Zuma will make the ultimate decision.