South Africa's president appoints new chief justice

FILE - Judge Raymond Zondo, chairman of the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, arrives in court, in Johannesburg, Nov 17, 2020. South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Zondo as the country's new Chief Justice, it was announced Thursday, March 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File) (Themba Hadebe, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

JOHANNESBURG – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Raymond Zondo as the country’s new chief justice.

Ramaphosa also said Thursday that Mandisa Maya will be deputy chief justice, the first Black female in that position.

The chief justice is the highest-ranking member of South Africa's judiciary and also heads the highest court in the country, the Constitutional Court.

Zondo, 61, has been the acting chief justice since the retirement of his predecessor Mogoeng Mogoeng last year.

Zondo is also the chairman of the commission investigating wide-ranging allegations of corruption during former President Jacob Zuma’s rule from 2009 to 2018. The commission has released three damning reports detailing extensive corruption in the country during Zuma's time as president. It is expected the reports will lead to criminal charges being filed against several former high-ranking officials.

Maya is currently the Judge President of South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal. She appeared to be the frontrunner for the chief justice position, having been recommended by the Judicial Service Commission following lengthy interviews, but Ramaphosa decided instead to name Zondo to the position.