Justice Maya and Justice Zondi nominated

March 20th, 2024

President Cyril Ramaphosa has nominated Justice Mandisa Maya for the position of Chief Justice of South Africa (SA) and Justice Dumisani Zondi, as the Deputy President of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA). This was announced by the presidency in a media statement. The statement noted that in terms of s 174(3) of the Constitution, President Ramaphosa has embarked on a process of consultation with the leaders of political parties represented in Parliament and the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to convey his nomination of Judge Maya as Chief Justice.

Justice Maya currently serves as Deputy Chief Justice. Justice Maya has held the following positions –

  • Acting Judge of the SCA in 2005;
  • Judge of the SCA in 2006;
  • Acting Judge in the Supreme Court of Namibia in 2008;
  • Acting Judge of the Constitutional Court from January to May 2011;
  • Acting Judge of the Lesotho Court of Appeal in 2015;
  • Acting President of the SCA in 2016 till 22 May 2017;
  • President of the SCA in 2017; and
  • Deputy Chief Justice in 2022.

Justice Maya made history for being the first woman appointed as President of the SCA and the first woman to be appointed as Deputy Chief Justice. If appointed as Chief Justice, she will be the first woman Chief Justice of South Africa (SA).

Justice Maya holds a BProc from the University of Transkei now Walter Sisulu University; LLB from the University of Natal now University of KwaZulu-Natal; and an LLM from Duke University, North Carolina, United States of America (USA), as well as three honorary doctorates from the University of Fort Hare, Walter Sisulu University, and Nelson Mandela University respectively.

The statement further stated that President Ramaphosa has also, in terms of s 174(3) of the Constitution, consulted the JSC, chaired by Chief Justice Zondo, to process on the President’s nomination of Justice Zondi as Deputy President of the SCA.

The term of office of the current Deputy President of the SCA, Justice Xola Petse, comes to an end on 10 July 2024 when he attains the age of 70 and will be automatically discharged from office.

Justice Zondi currently serves as a Justice of the SCA. Justice Zondi holds a BJuris from the University of Fort Hare, an LLB from the University of Natal, as well as an LLM from Georgetown University in the USA.

Justice Zondi was appointed to the Western Cape Bench in 2007. In 2011, he became a Judge of the Competition Appeal Court. Justice Zondi was elevated to the SCA in 2014. In 2022, he was appointed as a Chairperson of the Electoral Court.

President Ramaphosa has invited the JSC to make submissions on Justice Zondi’s suitability for the position for which he has been nominated.

Following the announcement by the presidency, the South African Chapter of the International Association of Women Judges (SAC-IAWJ), released a statement stating that in the history of SA it will be the first time that the judiciary will be led by a woman should Justice Maya’s nomination be successful. The organisation pointed out that this is a testament to all women’s struggles and achievements in SA. ‘This is a particularly momentous and proud occasion for the SAC-IAWJ as not only was DCJ Justice Maya one of the founding members and the former President of the SAC-IAWJ, but currently she represents the SAC-IAWJ as one of the Vice Presidents of the IAWJ Executive Council for the period 2023 to 2025, in Washington, USA,’ the statement read.

Kgomotso Ramotsho Cert Journ (Boston) Cert Photography (Vega) is the news reporter at De Rebus.