Former President Jacob Zuma has fired another salvo at his successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, as he seeks to overturn Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s appointment as the country’s top judge.

According to a Sunday Tribune report, Zuma has amended his submissions to the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) and restated his plans to oust Zondo and reverse Ramaphosa’s decision to overlook Deputy Chief Justice Mandisa Maya.

The ex-President wants Zondo’s appointment declared irrational, unconstitutional and unlawful.

In addition, Zuma wants Zondo to return the money he has earned since he became Chief Justice in March last year. Zuma described Zondo as prima facie unfit to hold the office as SA’s leading jurist.

‘He unnecessarily indulges in political commentary which is prohibited for members of the judiciary, let alone the Chief Justice. For example, there is no other person who has ever used the term ‘Gupta-Zuma’ state capture. It is his own politically loaded invention,’ the former President said.

As previously reported, Zuma said: ‘The President made the appointment against the views expressed by and/or recommendations made by the JSC and/or the majority of the leaders of political parties. The President failed to consult each of those bodies within the proper interpretation of the word ‘consult’ in section 174(3) of the Constitution.’

Zuma reportedly told Independent Media that Ramaphosa, the JSC and Judge Zondo had not responded to his amended court papers. 

‘It has also emerged that Judge Zondo received only three votes, compared to 19 votes for Judge Maya, making him the worst performer,' according to Zuma Foundation spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi, who is also quoted in the Sunday Tribune report.

He added that Zondo was also the only candidate to receive a serious adverse character comment from the JSC which remarked that "efficiency and discipline did not appear to be his strengths".

Manyi noted the legal challenge would give Ramaphosa the opportunity to justify his conduct, failing which it must be declared unconstitutional and set aside.

And on Zondo, he added: ‘The court will also be asked to refer his ongoing aggravating conduct of crossing the line by dabbling in political commentary, which is legally forbidden for members of the judiciary, to the JSC for investigation and disciplinary action.’

Full Sunday Tribune report