JUSTICE LEAGUE: Meet the 8 candidates shortlisted to be SA's next Chief Justice

Here are the backgrounds and experience of the eight people shortlisted to be the next Chief Justice after an unprecedented public nomination process.

Raymond Zondo. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG – The Presidency has announced the top eight list of nominated individuals for the post of Chief Justice to replace outgoing Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

This follows an unprecedented public nomination process, which closed on Friday.

The eight nominees were the only ones who met the criteria, which included the nominee’s acceptance and one letter of support from a professional body of legal practitioners.

Citizens may submit any objections they have with the nominees.

These are the nominees, in alphabetical order:

JUDGE PRESIDENT JOHN HLOPHE

Mandlakayise John Hlophe, aged 62, was appointed Judge President of the Western Cape Division of the High Court in May 2000.

Qualifications:
- B Juris (University of Fort Hare)
- LLB (University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg)
- LLM (University of Cambridge, England)
- PhD (University of Cambridge, England)
- LLD (honoris causa)

Previous judicial positions:
- Judge of the Western Cape Division of the High Court, 1995
- Acting Deputy Judge President of the Cape of Good Hope Provincial Division, 1998
- Member of the Industrial Court of South Africa and Transkei

In the news:
In September Hlophe dropped his urgent bid to interdict lawmakers from considering his removal from office as recommended by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). Hlophe’s counsel said he agreed to abandon the application on the basis that there was no urgency.

The National Assembly is only due to look at the matter in November after it resumes business. The JSC said that it would not consider recommending to President Cyril Ramaphosa that Hlophe be suspended until after his application to have its gross misconduct findings against him set aside was heard.

Hlophe will continue to operate as Western Cape Judge President until a judge is allocated and a date is set to hear his matter.

JUSTICE MBUYISELI MADLANGA

Justice Mbuyiseli Russel Madlanga, aged 59, was appointed Justice of the Constitutional Court in August 2013.

Qualifications:
- B Juris Degree (University of Transkei)
- LLB (Rhodes University)
- LLM (cum laude) (University of Notre Dame, US)
- Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree (honoris causa) (Walter Sisulu University)

Previous judicial positions:
- Judge, Eastern Cape Division of the High Court, Mthatha (Transkei Division)
- Acting Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal, December 1998 – May 1999
- Acting Judge President, Transkei Division of the High Court, June 1999 – August 2000
- Judge of the Competition Appeal Court, 1999 – 2000
- Acting Justice of the Constitutional Court, August 2000 – May 2001
- Justice Madlanga resigned as Judge in 2001

In the news:
In August 2018, the Constitutional Court confirmed that Advocate Shaun Abrahams' appointment as prosecutions boss was constitutionally invalid. Madlanga found that the manner in which former prosecutions boss Mxolisi Nxasana vacated office was invalid and therefore it had a knock-on effect on Abrahams' appointment.

And in a majority judgment written by Madlanga in February 2021, the Constitutional Court dismissed appeals lodged by the minister of state security and the minister of police against a Gauteng High Court ruling that parts of the Regulation of Interception of Communications Act were unconstitutional.

JUSTICE MANDISA MAYA

Justice Mandisa Muriel Lindelwa Maya, aged 57, was appointed President of the Supreme Court of Appeal in 2017.

Qualifications:
- B.Proc (University of Transkei)
- LLB (University of Natal)
- LLM (Duke University, North Carolina, US)

Previous judicial positions:
- Judge, Eastern Cape Division of the High Court, Mthatha 2000
- Acting Judge, Labour Courts 2004
- Acting Judge of Appeal, Supreme Court of Appeal, 2005
- Judge of Appeal, Supreme Court of Appeal, 2006
- Acting Judge of Appeal, Supreme Court of Namibia, 2008
- Acting Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, 2012
- Acting Judge of Appeal, Appeal Court of Lesotho, 2015
- Deputy President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, 2015
- Acting President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, 2016 – 2017

Other notable positions:
- Director: International Association of Women Judges: Africa Region, 2021
- Chancellor: University of Mpumalanga, 2021
- President of the South African Chapter of the International Association of Women Judges, 2018
- Deputy President of the South African Chapter of the International Association of Women Judges, 2008 – 2010
- Member: South African Judicial Service Commission, 2017
- Chairperson: South African Law Reform Commission, 2013-2016

DR WALLACE AMOS MGOQI

Dr Wallace Amos Mgoqi, aged 72, has held the positions of mediator since 1988 and arbitrator since 1993.

Qualifications:
- BA. Soc. Sc (UNISA)
- LLB (UCT)
- ITP (Harvard)
- DLC (IDLI) Rome
- LLD (hc) (UCT)
- LLD (hc) CUNY, US
- LLD (hc) UNITRA (Walter Sisulu University)

Previous judicial positions:
- Acting judge on the Land Claims Court, January 2014 to March 2019
- Assessor with Judge Cassim Sardiwalla in the Salem restitution case, July 2011 - Nov 2013
- Assessor with Acting Judge Mpshe in the Crocodile River restitution case, July 2011 - Nov 2011

Other notable positions:
- Chief Land Claims Commissioner, 1999
- City Manager, City of Cape Town, 2003 – 2006
- Member of the Commission for Gender Equality, June 2012 - June 2019

ADVOCATE BUSISIWE MKHWEBANE

Advocate Busisiwe Joyce Mkhwebane, aged 51, was appointed Public Protector of the Republic of South Africa in 2016.

Qualifications:
- B.Proc (University of Limpopo, formerly University of the North)
- LLB (University of Limpopo, formerly University of the North)
- Diploma in Corporate Law (Company Law, Close Corporations) (RAU)
- Higher Diploma in Tax Law (RAU)

Previous judicial positions:
None

Other notable positions:
- Director: Country Information and cooperation Management, Department of Home Affairs, July 2014 – October 2016
- Counsellor Immigration and Civic Services, South African Embassy in the Republic of China, April 2010 – July 2014
- Director: Refugee Affairs, Department of Home Affairs, June 2005 - September 2009
- Acting Chief Director Asylum Seekers Management, Department of Home Affairs, October 2009 - March 2010
- Senior Investigator and Acting Provincial Representative (Director) (Office of the Public Protector), May 1999 – May 2005
- Senior Researcher, South African Human Rights Commission, September 1998 – May 1999

In the news:
In July 2021, the parliamentary inquiry into the fitness of Mkhwebane to hold office was told that its job was not to find her guilty or innocent but to establish whether there were sufficient grounds for her to be removed. An independent panel found that Mkhwebane had a case to answer for after numerous court findings against her.

Led by retired Constitutional Court justice Bess Nkabinde, the panel found prima facie evidence of misconduct and incompetence.

The inquiry is likely to sit for the rest of the year and submit its findings and recommendations to the National Assembly by mid-January 2022.

JUDGE PRESIDENT DUNSTAN MLAMBO

Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, aged 62, was appointed Judge President of the Gauteng Division of the High Court, in November 2012.

Qualifications:
- LLD degree (honoris causa) – University of Fort Hare
- LLB – University of South Africa
- B. Proc - University of the North (now University of Limpopo)

Previous judicial positions:
- Judge President, Labour Court and Labour Appeal Court 2010 – 2012
- Judge of Appeal, Supreme Court of Appeal, South Africa 2003 – 2010
- Judge, Gauteng Local Division, Johannesburg 1999 – 2003
- Judge, Labour Court 1997 – 1999

ADVOCATE ALAN NELSON SC

Advocate Alan Nelson SC, aged 69, is an accredited mediator with the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR).

Qualifications:
- BA
- LLB (cum laude) (University of Stellenbosch)

Previous judicial positions:
- Acting Judge of the Western Cape Division of the High Court

Other notable positions:
- Founder of the Mediation Foundation for Peace and Justice and the Nelson Peace Centre

DEPUTY CHIEF JUSTICE RAYMOND ZONDO

Justice Raymond Mnyamezeli Mlungisi Zondo, aged 61, is the Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa and currently the Acting Chief Justice.

Qualifications:
- B. Iuris (UZ)
- LLB (UKZN)
- LLM (cum laude) (Labour Law) (UNISA)
- LLM (with specialisation in commercial law) (UNISA)
- LLM (Patent Law) (UNISA)

Previous judicial positions:
- Judge, Labour Court, 01 November 1997 – August 1999
- Judge, Gauteng Division, Pretoria, April 1999
- Judge President of the Labour Appeal Court and Labour Court May 2000 – April 2010
- Acting Justice of the Constitutional Court, November 2011 – May 2012
- Justice of the Constitutional Court, 01 September 2012
- Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa, 01 June 2017
- Acting Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa, 01-30 November 2017, 01 July 2021 to date

Other notable positions:
- Chairperson of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector including Organs of Stat e, January 2018 – date
- Acting Chairperson of the Judicial Conduct Committee of the Judicial Service Commission, June 2017 – date

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