Mlambo plans to modernise SA's court system if he's appointed Chief Justice

Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo spent Thursday being grilled by members of the Judicial Service Commission, in a day-long interview that ran well over time.

Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo being interviewed on 3 February 2022 by the Judicial Service Commission for the Chief Justice position. Picture: @OCJ_RSA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo has spelled out a comprehensive vision for an independent and effective judiciary, as well as modernising South Africa’s creaking court system.

Mlambo spent Thursday being grilled by members of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), in a day-long interview that ran well over time.

Mlambo has a track record of strong leadership and the ability to turn around dysfunctional institutions, such as Legal Aid SA. He’s also tech-savvy and led the process of introducing an online court documents system in the Gauteng division of the High Court.

He also oversaw the building of new high courts in Limpopo and Mpumalanga and part of his mission is to ensure greater access to justice for all, especially the rural poor.

Mlambo has shared his plans for the judiciary that he will work towards implementing if he is appointed as South Africa’s next Chief Justice.

"My vision is to see and have an efficient and effective judiciary that is independent and able to fulfill its mandate as set out in the Constitution," Mlambo said.

The Judicial Service Commission heard how he has championed the transformation of the bench and gender equality, the Gauteng division now has 41 female and 48 male judges while at the same time, being passionate about ensuring that the poorest and most vulnerable are able to access justice.

Tech-savvy, Mlambo said that modernising the courts with digital document and tracking systems would cut the costs of litigation.

He described his leadership style as one of “lifting up others as you rise”.

“I believe in a consultative leadership, accessibility, engaging, as well as decisiveness,” Judge Mlambo said.

Mlambo was uncompromising about delayed judgments, saying that a judge who could not produce a judgment in good time had no place in the judiciary.