The legal fraternity is not a unified community and rarely is there across-the-board support for a candidate seeking to be a judge. Yet the candidate left off the shortlist for appointment to the Constitutional Court — Gauteng High Court judge Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane — was considered one of the favourites by a number of lawyers the Mail & Guardian spoke to.
With just six candidates interviewed on Wednesday, and a shortlist of five that had to go to the president, the real job of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) this week was to decide who to take off the list rather than who to include.
The JSC did not explain why Kathree-Setiloane was left off the list but she had a bumpier interview than the rest of the candidates when Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng raised “two complaints”, saying the JSC needed to ascertain whether she would work well with colleagues.
He said the first came from the Constitutional Court’s manager, who, he reported, had been flustered when Kathree-Setiloane had arrived at the court, before she had officially been appointed an acting judge, and “occupied chambers, and demanded records and … they said you demanded a parking bay”.
“I was disappointed because my attitude was, whether you are a gardener or a clerk, you never report for duty until you are appointed,” said Mogoeng.
But Kathree-Setiloane said this was not what happened.