South Africa

STINT OVER

Dali Mpofu out of the JSC after Advocates for Transformation begins search for his replacement

Dali Mpofu out of the JSC after Advocates for Transformation begins search for his replacement
Advocate and former JSC commissioner Dali Mpofu. (Photo: Brenton Geach / Gallo Images)

Advocate Dali Mpofu’s term on the Judicial Service Commission has come to an end. Mpofu’s term ended last year, but he was allowed to continue ‘to keep the continuity and not disrupt the proceedings of the JSC’.

Advocates for Transformation (AFT) said it was in the process of electing Dali Mpofu’s successor after his term as commissioner on the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) had come to an end. 

Although Mpofu’s term ended last year, AFT chairperson Myron Dewrance told News24 that it was “important to keep the continuity, and not disrupt the proceedings of the JSC and remove him much earlier, because of the importance of the Chief Justice interviews”.

According to a statement released by Dewrance, commissioners serve a two-year term unless they are re-elected.

mpofu jsc malema

EFF leader Julius Malema (left) and advocate Dali Mpofu on day four of the interviews for South Africa’s Chief Justice at Park Hotel in Sandton on 4 February 2022. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla / Daily Maverick)

In 2017, Mpofu was elected to serve a term on the JSC. In 2019, he was re-elected for a second term.

The end of Mpofu’s stint on the JSC comes after the controversial lawyer was roundly criticised by civil society and the Pretoria Society of Advocates for his conduct during the Chief Justice interviews last month.

During Judge Mandisa Maya’s interview, Mpofu said that he and the judge had once “spent a night together”… studying, he then clarified.

Marc Leathern, chairperson of the Pretoria Society of Advocates, described Mpofu’s conduct as “sexist and condescending”. 

Commenting on Mpofu asking Judge Dunstan Mlambo about allegations of sexual harassment, Leathern wrote that Mpofu descended into a character assassination where the judge president was, without prior warning, confronted with the allegation of a rumour that he was guilty of the sexual harassment of female aspiring acting judges”.

Amid the backlash against Mpofu for his conduct, the only support he received was from a group of black advocates that included Muzi Sikhakhane, known for being in Jacob Zuma’s corner in various cases. 

In response to Adriaan Basson — the editor-in-chief at News24 — calling Mpofu “a scoundrel, immoral and a nincompoop”, the group accused the journalist of resorting to “gratuitous insults and slurs, whose roots are clearly what he inherits from his colonial heritage”.

A week after the Chief Justice interviews, the General Council of the Bar of South Africa said it had been inundated with objections to the conduct displayed during the interviews, particularly that of Mpofu towards judges Dunstan Mlambo and Raymond Zondo, as well as his inappropriate comments directed at Maya. 

It said it had been requested by a number of constituent bars and individual members to seek the replacement of Mpofu on the JSC and was in discussions with AFT to that end.

At the time, News24 reported that the AFT said calls for Mpofu’s removal were “unfair” as his term had already ended.

Mpofu, who was one of 23 commissioners, was appointed to the JSC by the General Council of the Bar. DM

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