Potential junior judges grilled

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By Itumeleng Koleile

Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on Monday this week grilled potential puisne judges to fill vacant posts that have not been filled since the deaths and retirement of high court judges.

The judiciary has been short justices since the untimely passing of their ladyship Lisebo Chaka-Makhooane and Maseshophe Hlajoane and his Lordship Lebohang Molete. Moreover, Justice Semapo Peete retired in August 2020 and added onto an existing shortage which ultimately led to a backlog of cases in the judiciary.

The JSC members, Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane, sitting as president of JSC, Justice Polo Banyane, Attorney General Rapelang Motsieloa and Public Service Commissioner Moshoeshoe Sehloho grilled the aspiring puisne judges.

The five candidates grilled by the JSC are advocate Fumane Malebana Khabo, advocate Moneuoa Kopo, advocate Realeboha Mathaba, advocate Kuena ‘Mabotsoa Thabane and advocate Matšelisi Khiba while advocate Makhele Sekati withdrew his name.

Chief Justice Sakoane said it is the very first time in the history of Lesotho that JSC hosted open interviews of puisne judges in the presence of the press.

“In countries that are democratic, this is how this kind of interviews at are done. In an open forum, it is important because the general public has a right to lodge complaints about shortlisted candidates,” he said.

He said it is imperative that the general public knows of the shortlisted candidates in order to know of any complaints about potential judges.

He said a judge has to uphold certain standards and be reputable for the duties one is bound to fulfill.

Justice Sakoane added hiring new judges will assist in ensuring that there is a reduction in backlogs of cases in the judiciary.

He said as the general public has been vocal on the fact that the judiciary takes too long to deliver justice, it is imperative that they deal with the matter as justice delayed is justice denied.

Sakoane also told media that although they have seven vacant positions, they will only be filling in two.

This, he said was done because in principle, three people have to compete for one position, thus the shortlisted candidates will only be competing for two positions.

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