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Busisiwe Mkhwebane explains why she withdrew her name from Chief Justice race

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Jeffrey Abrahams/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Jeffrey Abrahams/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Oct 29, 2021

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DURBAN - Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane says she pulled out of the race to fill the position of Chief Justice, because she wanted to focus on her remaining two years as public protector.

On Friday, Mkhwebane said she was humbled to be nominated for the position and wished the remaining candidates good luck. She commended current Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng on his role played in office.

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“Let me say at the outset that I am humbled by the vote of confidence in me as demonstrated by those who nominated me and those who supported such a nomination.

“While I am humbled by the vote of confidence in my capabilities as expressed in my nomination, I have decided to withdraw from the race. My focus is here at the Public Protector South Africa, where I am left with two years now in office to finish what I started, which is taking the services of this noble institution to the backyards of grass-roots communities.

“I wish the remaining nominees all of the best and, in the same breath, let me congratulate the former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, for having exercised his powers and performed his functions with utmost distinction and conviction, and for never allowing popular narratives to sway him,” Mkhwebane said.

She said her office would not comment further on the matter.

Mhkwebane’s announcement came shortly after the Office of the Presidency revealed on Friday that she and AYO Technology chairperson Dr Wallace Amos Mgoqi had withdrawn from the race.

Six candidates remain: Judge President John Hlophe, Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga, President of the Supreme Court of Appeal Mandisa Maya, Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, advocate Alan Nelson, SC and Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

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Last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa, for the first time in the country’s history, invited members of the public to nominate people to fill the position of Chief Justice.

The evaluation panel for the position, chaired by Judge Navi Pillay, submitted its report to Ramaphosa on Thursday. The president is reviewing panel’s recommendations.

“After giving consideration to the recommendations of the panel, the president will decide which candidate(s) from the shortlist presented to him by the Panel to refer to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and the leaders of political parties represented in the National Assembly for consultation in line with Section 174(3) of the Constitution.

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“The content of the report itself will not be made public as the candidates the President will select from the shortlist still need to go through a process of interviews by the Judicial Service Commission and consultation with the leaders of political parties represented in the National Assembly,” the Presidency said.

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