Public sector: Judges

Rosheni Allie
Cape High Court
Tel: +27 21 480 2411

Rosheni Allie, a judge of the Cape High Court, obtained her first law degree, a BProc, at the University of Cape Town in 1984. Active in politics since her student days (she was a member of the Azanian Students Organisation and the United Democratic Front in 1983/84), she was also involved in the community, educating people around socio-legal issues.

She worked as a candidate attorney from 1985 to 1987, when she was admitted as a practising attorney. From 1988 to 2003 she worked at R Allie & Associates as a private legal practitioner. During this time she completed a Dale Carnegie course in management skills (1988), was admitted to practice as a conveyancer (1989) and completed an LLM at Stellenbosch University (1999 to 2001) and a judicial skills training course (2000). From June to October 2000, she acted as a judge at the Cape High Court and was appointed to the Cape Provincial Division of the High Court on January 1 2004. She is president of the South African chapter of the International Association of Women Judges.

Sisi Khampepe
Johannesburg High Court
Tel: +27 11 332 8162

Sisi Sibongile Virginia Khampepe, who headed the inquiry into the mandate and location of the Directorate of Special Operations, obtained her BProc from the University of Zululand and an LLM from Harvard University. She started her working career as a fellow at the Legal Resource Centre before working as a candidate attorney at Bowman Gilfillan Attorneys. In May 1985 she was admitted as an attorney. She has been a member of the Electoral Appeal Tribunal, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its Amnesty Committee, the Public Service Commission, the Judicial Observer Commission to the 2002 presidential and parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe, and the Commonwealth Observer Commission to the 2006 presidential and parliamentary elections in Uganda.In 1998 she was appointed deputy national director of public prosecutions and in 2002 a judge of the High Court, Witwatersrand division. In November 2007 she was appointed a judge of the Labour Appeal Court and six months later as an acting deputy judge president of the Labour Court and the Labour Appeal Court. She is also the vice chairperson of the National Council of Correctional Services.

Carole Lewis
Supreme Court of Appeal
Tel: +27 51 447 2631

Carole Lewis obtained a BA (law and Latin) from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1975 and an LLM in 1985. Admitted as an attorney in 1978, she became a lecturer at Wits Law School in the same year, and eventually a professor of law in 1988. From 1989 to 1990 she was head of the law school; she was elected dean of the law faculty in 1993, a position she held until 1998. During this period, she also made forays into the publishing world, taking on the editorship of the Annual Survey of South African Law and the South African Law Journal. In 1998 and 1999 she acted as a judge in the Johannesburg and Pretoria High Courts, before being appointed as judge of the Johannesburg High Court in November 1999. In 2002 she became an acting judge at the Supreme Court of Appeal and was appointed a judge in that court at the beginning of 2003.

Mandisa Maya
Supreme Court of Appeal
Tel: +27 51 447 2631

Mandisa Maya was born in the Eastern Cape. She obtained the degrees BProc from the University of Transkei (1986), LLB from the University of Natal, Durban (1988), and an LLM on a Fulbright scholarship from the Duke University law school in the United States (1990). Her law career has spanned positions in both South Africa and the US and has included posts as an attorney’s assistant, court interpreter, prosecutor, state law adviser, policy counsel and lobbyist. In 1990 she became a fellow of the Georgetown University law and gender fellowship programme and the Africare internship programme, working as an intern at the Smithsonian in Washington DC. Eleven years later she became a fellow of the Commonwealth Foundation fellowship scheme. She practised as an advocate before her elevation to the Bench in 1999. She has done judicial duties in various divisions of the high court, has acted as a Labour Court judge and is acting as a judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Yasmin Shenaz Meer
Land Claims Court and Cape High Court
Tel: +27 21 480 2540

Judge of the Land Claims Court and Cape High Court, Yasmin Shenaz Meer matriculated at the Durban Indian Girls’ High School in 1972. She obtained a BA degree at the University of Durban Westville (1975), an LLB at the University of Cape Town (1975) and an LLM at the University of Warwick (1981) in the United Kingdom. She was admitted as an attorney in 1983 and began practising with the Legal Resources Centre in Cape Town, specialising in public-interest litigation; she became the LRC’s deputy national director and, in 1995, national director. A year later, she was appointed as a judge of the Land Claims Court and in 2003, judge to the Cape High Court. She now divides her time between the courts, based in Johannesburg and Cape Town respectively.

Baaitse Nkabinde-Mmono
Constitutional Court
Tel: +27 11 359 7400

Baaitse Nkabinde-Mmono obtained her BProc from the University of Zululand in 1983 and an LLB from the University of North West in 1986. She began her career in 1984 as a state law adviser for legislative drafting to the Bophuthatswana government. Admitted as an advocate in 1988, she completed pupillage at the Johannesburg Bar in 1989 and worked as an advocate of the North West Bar from 1990 to 1999. In 1994/95 she investigated and led evidence at the Mpshe inquiry into the mutiny of warders at Mogwase prison in North West province. She acted as a judge of the Bophuthatswana Provincial Division high court early in 1999 and was appointed as judge to the court from November 1999. Other acting judgeships included terms at the Labour Court and the Labour Appeal Court. In June 2005 she was appointed to the Supreme Court of Appeal. In January 2006 she took up her current posting. In mid-2008 she was embroiled in a controversy concerning Cape Judge President John Hlophe’s alleged attempt to influence her and an acting Constitutional Court judge in a case concerning ANC president Jacob Zuma.

Yvonne Mokgoro
Constitutional Court
Tel: +27 11 359 7417

Yvonne Mokgoro, a Constitutional Court justice, is committed to the transformation of the judiciary and the establishment of its legitimacy among the people of South Africa by making people feel they “own” the system. Born in Galeshewe, Kimberley, her first job was as a nursing assistant, and she later became a salesperson before being appointed as a clerk in the department of justice of the former Bophuthatswana. She graduated from the then University of Bophuthatswana with a BJuris degree followed by an LLB, and became a maintenance officer and public prosecutor in the Mmabatho Magistrate’s Court. From 1992 to 1993 she served as associate professor at the University of the Western Cape, from where she moved to the Centre for Constitutional Analysis at the Human Sciences Research Council, serving as specialist researcher (human rights). She was a founder member of the Lawyers for Human Rights committee in Mafikeng in 1990 and a member of the ANC until the time of her appointment to the Constitutional Court.

Catherine “Kate” O’Regan
Constitutional Court
Tel: +27 11 359 7429

Catherine “Kate” O’Regan, a Constitutional Court justice, obtained an LLB degree (cum laude) from the University of Cape Town in 1980. She went on to study at the University of Sydney, Australia, where she earned an LLM degree with first-class honours in 1981. In 1988 she received her PhD from the London School of Economics with a thesis on interdicts to restrain strike action. From 1982 to 1985, she worked for a firm of attorneys in Johannesburg specialising in labour law and land rights, returning to the University of Cape Town in mid-1988 as a senior researcher in the labour unit and earning promotion to associate professor four years later. In the early 1990s she served as a trustee of the Legal Resources Centre, a non-profit, public-interest law centre. She was one of the authors of A Charter for Social Justice: A contribution to the South African Bill of Rights debate, which was published in December 1992.

Dhaya Pillay
Labour Court
Tel: +27 31 301 0104

The Labour Court of South Africa has two permanent and six acting judges — Dhaya Pillay is the senior judge. Since joining the court in September 2000, she has issued more than 700 judgements on issues such as retrenchments, closure of businesses, strikes, lock-outs, affirmative action and equality. More than 60 of her judgements have been published or reported on in law reports, journals and the media. Pillay obtained her BProc from Unisa in 1982 and practiced as an attorney of the high court from 1982 to 2000. A month-long stint in the high court in November/December 2003 exposed Pillay to serious criminal cases, including murder, robbery and rape, and resulted in her judgement on the procedure to be adopted when raped children are witnesses. In August 2005 Pillay again acted in the high court, this time hearing civil cases including road accident claims, defamation, liquidations, family law and property law. She has served on ministerially appointed legislation drafting committees, including the task team that drafted the Labour Relations Act of 1995, and has published and presented numerous papers.

Jeanette Traverso
Deputy Judge President of the High Court
Cape Provincial Division
Tel: +27 21 480 2411

Deputy Judge President of the High Court, Cape Provincial Division, Jeanette Traverso, is the first and as yet only female judge to occupy a leadership position in the judiciary. She obtained her BA and LLB from Stellenbosch University in 1966 and 1968 respectively. She prosecuted at magistrate’s court level for four months in 1969, before joining the Attorney General’s office as a state advocate. She joined the Cape Bar in 1975 and became the first woman to serve on the Cape Bar Council, and the first to be awarded the status senior consultus. In January 1994 she became the second woman to be appointed as a judge in South Africa, 25 years after the appointment of the first woman judge, Justice Leonora van de Heever. In January 2001 Judge Traverso was named deputy judge president of the High Court, Cape Provincial Division. She is a member of, among others, the steering committee of the Equality Legislation Education and Training Unit, the board of the Law, Race and Gender Institute of the University of Cape Town and the executive committee of the International Association of Women Judges (South African chapter).

Kathleen Margaret Satchwell
Johannesburg High Court
Tel: +27 11 332 8162

Justice Kathleen Satchwell was a prominent human rights attorney before being appointed a judge of the Johannesburg High Court (Transvaal Provincial Division) in 1996. She had been in legal practice in Johannesburg since 1979 and was also admitted to practise as a notary public and a conveyancer. In 1999 she was appointed to head a commission to investigate South Africa’s Road Accident Fund. In 2001 she made headlines when she sued her employers — the president and the minister of justice — on the basis that her partner was entitled to the same financial benefits as those afforded­ to married judges’ spouses. The Pretoria High Court ruled in her favour, but she eventually had to pursue her case in the Constitutional Court after the government appealed. She won that case in 2002, the same year she was nominated for the Constitutional Court. Satchwell has pursued research involving a comparative study of British and South African government commissions of inquiry.

Belinda Jane van Heerden
Supreme Court of Appeal
Tel: +27 51 447 2631

Belinda Jane van Heerden grew up in Somerset West in the Western Cape. She studied at Stellenbosch University from 1977 to 1981, graduating with a BA in 1979 and an LLB in 1981, before attending Oxford University as a South Africa-at-large Rhodes scholar and graduating with a BA (Hons) jurisprudence in July 1984. Between December 1984 and December 1989, she held various lecturer positions at the universities of Stellenbosch and Cape Town. After completing her articles of clerkship with a Cape Town law firm, she was made a director of the firm and practiced there until 1994, returning to academia for the rest of the decade. She attended a legal training programme in Paris as a guest of the French government and Paris Bar Council. After one term as an acting judge at the Cape High Court, she was appointed to a permanent seat on the Bench in January 2000. She was an acting judge at the Supreme Court of Appeal from June 2003 to August 2004, when she was appointed a judge of the court.

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