Supreme Court of Appeal President Mandisa Maya will not only become the next and first female Chief Justice of South Africa, but will be able to serve a full term as a Constitutional Court Justice.
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has recommended Maya as the most suitable candidate for the top position in the Constitutional Court.
The announcement came after deliberations by the JSC, following the conclusion of interviews with all four candidates.
JSC Interviews | Who is Judge Maya? Wrap with Hasina Gori:
The other three candidates who were interviewed were Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, Constitutional Court Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga and Judge President of the Gauteng High Court Division, Dunstan Mlambo.
Justice Maya, who will soon turn 58 on March 2o, will have the opportunity to meet both constitutional requirements to serve her term as a Constitutional Court Justice.
In terms of section 176 (1) of the constitution, Constitutional Court judges can only serve a 12-year non-renewable term or until they reach the age of 70.
It depends on which one they reach first. The constitution also states that the term of office of Concourt judge can only be extended by an Act of Parliament.
If Maya is appointed by the President Ramaphosa she will not only complete her 12-year non renewable term, but her term will also end in the same year and a few week before she turns 70 in 2034.
During her interview by the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) for the position of the country’s top judge, Justice Maya called for government to give women and black lawyers the experience required to become top judges.
She reflected on the under-representation of women at all levels of the judiciary and says the quality of future judges is dependent on giving them exposure currently.
“We must not stop doing the things we have been doing. In the meantime, agitating for women to get quality work in the professions by the state attorney, that can never be overstated. Government must give black lawyers and women lawyers quality work so that we have a pool when we look for judges and we have people who are ready, who have been exposed to niche areas like commercial law – when they go to the bench and we do not get these comments these painful comments that the quality of judgments is being eroded,” she adds.
Maya also pointed out the Judiciary did not have an anti-sexual harassment policy as if they were not part of society.
She told the JSC that some of the few reported cases of sexual harassment were not receiving the necessary attention.
“The Judiciary has no anti-sexual harassment policy as if we live … we come from this bubble somewhere, (and) we are not part of society. (As if) we don’t experience the problems that are experienced you know by society generally.”
“No anti-sexual harassment policy and the reported consequences in this gap are the few sexual harassment incidents, with the few courageous victims – because its not easy to report that kind of thing for various reasons – those few cases that have been reported to the powers that be, have not received the attention they deserve because they are treated, if treated at all, as acts of misconduct in inquiries that take forever to finalise.”
JSC Interview | Justice Mandisa Maya:
JSC Interview | Discussion on the deliberations with Alison Tilley: