Ramaphosa makes his first ConCourt appointments

 

 

President Cyril Ramaphosa has made his first appointments to South Africa’s highest court. Justices Zukisa Tshiqi and Steven Majiedt — both currently at the Supreme Court of Appeal — will begin at the Constitutional Court on October 1.

Ramaphosa’s choices were expected, with Tshiqi and Majiedt being the two most senior of the judges interviewed and short-listed by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) in April.

The other candidates put forward by the JSC were Gauteng high court judges Annali Basson and Jody Kollapen and Western Cape high court deputy judge president Patricia Goliath. After the JSC made its shortlist of five for the president to choose from, Majiedt and Tshiqi were widely considered as the front-runners, although Kollapen was also a popular candidate.

The appointments mean that there are now ten permanent judges on the Constitutional Court — a welcome development as the number of acting judges at the highest court in recent times had been raising eyebrows. However, since the last round of JSC interviews, there is already another vacancy to fill with the recent retirement of Justice Edwin Cameron.

With these two appointments under his belt, and another to come shortly, Ramaphosa will be able to put his stamp on the highest court — more so over the next two years because Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and Justices Chris Jafta, Sisi Khampepe and Johan Froneman are due to retire.

Prior to these appointments, and with Cameron’s retirement, the whole Constitutional Court bench was made up of people appointed by former president Jacob Zuma. Cameron was the last justice appointed before Zuma’s presidency — by Kgalema Motlanthe during his brief tenure as caretaker president.

Tshiqi was appointed to the Johannesburg High Court in 2005 after practicing as an attorney, mostly specialising in labour law, although she also had a busy commercial practice. After acting at the Supreme Court of Appeal, she was quickly elevated to a permanent post in 2009, making her the third African woman judge appointed to the appeal court. She acted at the Constitutional Court for over six months in 2014 and 2015.

This was the second time she had made herself available for the Constitutional Court, facing a difficult interview in 2015 after comments from national advocates’ body, the General Council of the Bar, criticised her — including for having penned fewer judgments than expected for someone with her number of years on the bench. She responded, saying that the criticism was factually incorrect, but that when she sought to obtain copies of her judgments from the high court, she was unable to do so because of the state of the archive at the Johannesburg court.

Majiedt began his legal career as an advocate, practicing at the Cape Bar from 1984. A founding member of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers, Majeidt was mentored by South Africa’s first justice minister Dullah Omar. In 1995, he left practice to work as adviser to the Northern Cape’s first premier Manne Dipico. He went back to practice as an advocate in 2000, but it was less than a year before he was appointed as a judge in the Northern Cape high court.

He was elevated to the Supreme Court of Appeal in 2010 and acted at the Constitutional Court for four months in 2014. In that time he penned what has become an internationally celebrated judgment on South Africa’s obligations under international law.

The Mail & Guardian will be running two in-depth profiles on the new appointments in the September 13 to 20 2019 edition. 

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Franny Rabkin
Franny Rabkin
Franny is the legal reporter at the Mail & Guardian
Advertisting

In East Africa, the locusts are coming back for more

In February the devastating locust swarms were the biggest seen in East Africa for 70 years. Now they’re even bigger

Western Cape Judge Mushtak Parker faces second misconduct complaint

The Cape Bar Council says his conduct is ‘unbecoming the holding of judicial office’

‘My biggest fear was getting the virus and dying in...

South African Wuhan evacuee speaks about his nine-week ordeal

Border walls don’t stop viruses, but a blanket amnesty might

Why South Africa should consider amnesty for undocumented migrants in the time of the coronavirus outbreak.

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories