The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) is made up of 23 representatives from different structures of the government and South African legal community. Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, the Chief Justice, presides and in his absence, the Deputy Chief Justice. This is currently acting Deputy Chief Justice Bess Nkabinde. Judge Raymond Zondo was interviewed by the JSC in April 2017 and has been recommended to President Zuma to be the next Deputy Chief Justice.
The purpose of the JSC
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) performs an advisory role to the President and national government on any matters relating to the Judiciary or administration of justice. The committee was established in terms of section 178 of the Constitution.
The JSC also assists in interviewing all of the candidates for the judicial posts available across South Africa and following those interviews the committee makes recommendations for appointment to the bench to the President.
Lastly, the JSC sees to all complaints brought against Judges.
The 23 members include:
- Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, the Chief Justice (or the Deputy Chief Justice in his absence, currently acting DCJ, Justice Nkabinde*)
- The President of the Supreme Court of Appeal (currently acting SCA President, Justice Maya**)
- A representative for the Judge Presidents, who run the divisions of the High Court, previously Judge Kgomo. (Judge Kgomo retires in 2017. We are awaiting confirmation of his replacement.)
- Mr Masutha, the Minister of Justice
- Mr Motimele represents the Bar
- Mr Hellens represents the Bar. (Mr Hellens has resigned from the JSC. We are awaiting confirmation of his replacement.)
- Mr Notyesi represents the attorneys
- Mr Fourie represents the attorneys
Some members of parliament and representatives of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) including Dr Motshekga, Chair of the Justice committee from Parliament and the Chair of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Ms Modise.
There are also National Assembly representatives of minority parties; the IFP, the EFF and the DA. The law academics are also represented. The President has four appointees, currently Adv Thandi Norman SC, Mr Sofiso Msomi, Adv Thabani Masuku SC and Adv Nkosi Thomas SC.
Also present at each interview is the Judge President of the division which is being interviewed for – the prospective boss of the judge – and a representative of the Premier for that province.
*Judge Zondo has been recommended to President Zuma for nomination as the next Deputy Chief Justice, he will replace acting DCJ Nkabinde when his appointment is confirmed by the President.
** Judge Maya is currently the acting President of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA). She has been recommended to President Zuma for nomination as the next President of the SCA. Her appointment is still to be confirmed by the President.
As members of JSC act in other professional capacities, the JSC and its various committees meet twice a year for a week, usually in April and October.
The meetings are generally held in Cape Town and the JSC Secretariat makes all logistical arrangements for all commissioners and is responsible for collating an agenda and documents relating to general matters to be dealt with by the JSC.
Complaints against judges
Complaints against Judges who contravene the Code of Judicial Conduct must first be reported to the JSC Secretariat which is located within the Office of the Chief Justice. The Code of Judicial Conduct provides for ethical and professional standards is required of every Judge.
To find out more about the JSC click here: http://www.judiciary.org.za/index.html
[Updated: May 2017]