First appointed as a judge:
Date of Birth:
April 2021 Interview Synopsis:
Advocate Frances Snyman SC developed a deeper love for the law while studying to become a police officer — where she rose to the rank of captain.
The civil and criminal procedure courses in her police studies meant an interest in that coursework segued into studying for a B.Juris and an LLB part-time and her joining the Pretoria Bar in 2002, she told the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). She was then awarded silk in 2019.
Commended by Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) President Mandisa Maya for admitting on her application form that she suffered from depression, Snyman assured the North West Judge President Monica Leeuw that this would not affect her workload.
She told the JSC she had made the disclosure to add her experience towards undermining the stigma around depression in society.
When comparing her experience of acting as a high court judge in Pretoria and in Mahikeng, Snyman said the latter, which was a smaller court, allowed her to adjudicate the “complete range of the different aspects in law” compared to the mainly criminal and civil trials she ran in Gauteng.
She said while she was “blessed and honoured” to act in Gauteng, working in Mahikeng “felt like going home” (she grew up in Rustenburg) and that she had discussed with her family, and confirmed, relocating to the town close to the border with Botswana if she were appointed.
Snyman apologised for not knowing, off-hand, sections of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act, but said she would be ready to deal with any “tribal issues” which came up in the division.
She told the Commission that she did not know any indigenous languages but that she had previously tried to learn Sepedi, and was currently learning Setswana.
Snyman was recommended for appointment.