Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo has taken on the role of acting chief justice. This was announced by the office of the chief justice on Friday.
The switch is due to the appointment of Sisi Khampepe as acting chief justice coming to an end on June 30. She had taken on the position when chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng went on long leave two months ago.
“As the chief justice is still on long leave, as made known on May 6 2021, and by application of the relevant legislation — namely section 4(2)(b) of the Superior Courts Act — the deputy chief justice will exercise the powers or perform the functions of the chief justice as the acting chief justice,” the judiciary said.
Zondo had previously been unable to fill the post as stipulated by legislation because of his duties as chair of the state capture inquiry.
“The work of the commission has, despite the extension, reached a stage that the deputy chief justice will be in a position to fulfil his responsibilities as acting chief justice while attending to the finalisation of the inquiry’s work,” the office of the chief justice said on Friday.
Zondo assumed the new role on Thursday.
Khampepe leaves the acting chief justice seat after delivering one of the most important Constitutional Court judgments in the court’s history.
On Tuesday she delivered the judgment which ordered the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma for contempt of court. This was after he had snubbed the inquiry chaired by Zondo, accusing it and its officials of unfair bias.
Mogoeng’s request for long leave did not indicate an end date, but the three-and-a-half-month leave to which he is entitled would end after his retirement date.