Bill to depoliticise judicial appointments

The DA’s proposed bill looks to limit the power of the president in appointing judges.

The DA’s proposed bill looks to limit the power of the president in appointing judges. Picture: DA

JOHANNESBURG - Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow justice minister Dene Smuts is proposing a Constitutional amendment to reduce political influence in the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

She submitted a Private Member's Bill to amend the Constitution in order to reduce the influence politicians have on the decision-making process.

Smuts says her proposals are taken from the National Development Plan (NDP) with suggestions from Justice Minister Jeff Radebe.

In the bill, Smuts suggests the number of JSC commissioners from the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces be cut by half.

The proposed law would also limit the power of the president in appointing judges.

Smuts also suggests that explicit criteria to judge suitable candidates be included in the Constitution.

This would result in people being assessed on whether they are fit and proper and on their professional conscientiousness and personal integrity.

She also wants all candidates to be judged equally.