CAPE TOWN — Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s interview for the top job in the judiciary turned into a screaming battle when Justice Secretary Ronald Lamola accused the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Julius Malema for telling “a blue lie”.
The drama erupted late Friday night near the end of Zondo’s nearly 12-hour interview with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
Malema also attacked Zondo for meeting former President Jacob Zuma, suggesting he is too close to politicians.
The outburst came after Malema suggested the process to make Gauteng Chief Justice Dunstan Mlambo acting constitutional judge had been rigged, ostensibly to improve his chances of becoming chief justice.
The JSC has learned that last year Lamola asked Zondo to consider Mlambo for the Constitutional Court. Zondo told the JSC that was not the norm, although he wouldn’t dare say if it was illegal.
He also said that Mlambo, who previously turned down an offer to act in the Constitutional Court, was available at short notice so it made sense to pick him.
Lamola retracted his allegation that Malema lied. The JSC will spend Saturday deliberating behind closed doors.