PROFILE: Constitutional Court Chief Justice candidate Mandisa Maya

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Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) President Mandisa Maya is one of the four candidates in the running to be the country’s next Chief Justice. Maya is the only woman contender for the position and if appointed would be the first female to hold the title.

She was one of the first women judges on the Eastern Cape High Court, the first black woman on the Supreme Court of Appeal and the first woman Deputy President.

Later, she became the first woman President of the SCA. If appointed as the next Chief Justice of the country, she will be yet again the first woman in the position.

Justice Maya was born in 1964 in rural Eastern Cape. She worked as a court interpreter and prosecutor before joining the Women’s Legal Defence in Washington DC. As the country moved into democracy, Maya worked as an investigator for the Independent Electoral Commission. She then practiced as an advocate before becoming a High Court Judge.

SA’s Next Chief Justice | Justice Mandisa Maya is 1 of 4 candidates to be interviewed:

Maya then moved through the appellate divisions and acted at the Constitutional Court as well.

At the helm of the Supreme Court of Appeal, she has turned the appellate court into one of the most efficient in the country. Some in the legal fraternity feel this makes her the best candidate for the next Chief Justice position.

“We never had a female Chief Justice. Maya has been doing a good job at the SCA some may say it’s only four years and that the court could benefit from her leadership stability but the president might want to be the first person to appoint a female chief justice,” says Dan Matora, CASAC Research Officer.

Justice Maya is set to be the second candidate to be interviewed by the Judicial Services Commission which is to be chaired by the Deputy Judge President of the SCA, Xola Petse in the first week of February.