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Ramaphosa nominates Mandisa Maya as the country’s next Chief Justice

Sameera Casmod | sameeraa@radioislam.co.za
28 February 2024 | 12:43 p.m. SAST
2 minute read

Image: The South African Judiciary

Deputy Chief Justice Mandisa Maya has been nominated as the country’s next Chief Justice. Alongside Maya’s nomination, Judge Dumisani Hamilton Zondi has been nominated as the Deputy President of the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Having previously been nominated for the same role, Judge Maya’s nomination seems like a good fit, Mbekezeli Benjamin told Radio Islam International.

“For the last two years, she’s [Maya’s] been working as Deputy Chief Justice. So I expect that there will be a smooth handover from the current Chief Justice to Justice Maya. So it is a good choice,” Benjamin says.

Benjamin, research and advocacy officer at Judges Matter, anticipates a smooth transition because of Judge Maya’s familiarity with the responsibilities of the role.

Regarding the term limit of the current Chief Justice, Benjamin explains that the incumbent’s term expires on August 31, 2024, as per the constitutional provision allowing judges of the Constitutional Court to serve a maximum of 12 years. Despite not reaching the retirement age of 70, the term limit necessitates his departure by August.

Discussing Judge Dumisani Hamilton Zondi’s nomination, Benjamin underscores his extensive judicial experience spanning nearly two decades.

Zondi’s tenure includes significant roles at the Western Cape High Court and as the chairperson of electoral courts, demonstrating his capabilities for leadership within the judiciary.

“He’s been a judge for almost twenty years now. He was previously at the Western Cape High Court, before he was promoted to the Supreme Court of Appeal. And for the last two years, he’s been the chairperson of certain electoral courts, which of course with the upcoming elections in the next three months, is a vital institution that he has been responsible for running,” Benjamin said on Judge Zondi’s nomination.

Benjamin outlined the nomination process, which begins with nominations and is followed by the President’s consultation with political party leaders in Parliament and the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

The JSC’s role involves interviewing Justice Maya to assess her vision for the judiciary, particularly in light of recent developments such as resolutions from the judges’ conference advocating for judicial oversight in court administration.

Budget constraints emerged as a critical concern, with Benjamin highlighting a significant reduction in the judiciary’s budget compared to the previous year.

“We heard from the Minister of Finance last week that the judiciary will have about R500 million less than it did last year…So we will hear from Justice Maya what plans she has to address those budget cuts while delivering access to justice for everyone in South Africa,” Benjamin concludes.

Listen to the full interview on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Sulaimaan Ravat here.

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