[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.
Composition of the Constitutional Court in the first and second terms of 2015
Justice Chris Jafta is on long leave from 1 November 2014 to 31 March 2015. In addition, Justices Ray Zondo and Johann van der Westhuizen are on long leave from 1 February to 31 May 2015. The vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Thembile Skweyiya has not yet been filled.
In the stead of the judges on leave, and as against the current vacancy, Justice Zukisa Tshiqi and Justice Leona Theron of the Supreme Court of Appeal have been appointed as Acting Justices of the Constitutional Court until 31 May 2015. In addition, Judge‑President Mahube Betty Molemela, of the Free State High Court, has been appointed for the first two terms of 2015, until 31 May 2015. Deputy Judge-President Achmat Jappie, of the KwaZulu-Natal High Court, has been appointed for the first term of 2015, until 31 March 2015.BACK TO TOP