INKATHA Freedom Party (IFP) leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi has added his voice to those supporting highly respected senior counsel Jeremy Gauntlett for appointment to the Constitutional Court.
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) last month overlooked Adv Gauntlett for judicial appointment for the fourth time — provoking outrage in some quarters and a threat of legal action.
On Wednesday Prince Buthelezi said he had nominated Mr Gauntlett to the Constitutional Court. He will be the third big name to line up behind Adv Gauntlett.
Adv Gauntlett told the Sunday Times at the weekend that he would be nominated by veteran human rights lawyer Sir Sydney Kentridge and veteran anti-apartheid activist and Gold Fields chairwoman Mamphela Ramphele.
Prince Buthelezi said Adv Gauntlett’s "patriotism is beyond doubt. I have known him for 40 years and can personally vouch for it."
In an oblique reference to one of the JSC’s reasons for not appointing Mr Gauntlett — that he was acerbic and had a "short thread"— Prince Buthelezi said that as an acting judge and as an arbitrator "there has not been a single report on intemperance or anything that departs from his constant gentlemanly demeanour and conduct".
And as evidence of Mr Gauntlett’s integrity, Prince Buthelezi described how, 40 years ago, a "young Jeremy Gauntlett" invited him to speak at Stellenbosch University — despite a directive not to from the university’s chancellor, John Vorster.
"On the strength of his convictions, the then young Jeremy Gauntlett had the courage and stamina to defy the man who made the whole of Africa tremble. I cannot think of any better showing of character in respect of that which is required of a good judge," said the IFP leader.