Zuma nominates Judge Maya for Supreme Court of Appeal president post

If Judge Mandisa Maya is appointed to the post, she will become the first female president of the court.

FILE: Judge Mandisa Maya. Picture: law.ukzn.ac.za

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma has formally nominated Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Mandisa Maya to become the new president of the court.

She would take over from Judge Lex Mpati, who’s stepped down from the position.

If she is appointed to the post, she will become the first female president of the court.

Her appointment will have to be confirmed by the Judicial Service Commission, a 23-member body that includes the chief justice, minister of justice and lawmakers.

There’s been strong criticism over the last few years at the lack of female judges in the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Wits law professor Bonita Meyersfeld says the appointment of Judge Maya to this position is crucial.

“It’s one of the most important steps toward the fulfilment of the Constitution that the judiciary represents the diversity of the country and it’s also terribly important because there is no one who can possibly doubt the brilliance of that woman.”

Maya has been at the Supreme Court of Appeal since 2006 and has acted as a judge on the Constitutional Court.

She started her legal career as an attorney’s clerk in 1987 before working in courts in Mthatha and at the Women’s Legal Defense Fund in the US, and then becoming a judge.