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Judge Brian A Mashile

Capacity: Judge
First appointed as a judge: August 2013
Gender: Male
Ethnicity: African

Key judgments:
(1) Moyo v Old Mutual Limited and Others (22791/2019) [2019] ZAGPJHC 229 (30 July 2019) ;
(2) Sahle v Chuma Resources (Pty) Ltd and Another (24686/2017) [2018] ZAGPJHC 555 (11 October 2018)   

April 2023 Interview 

April 2023 Interview synopsis

Sometimes, during Judicial Service Commission interviews, a commissioner’s personal favourite become as obvious as sabotage at an Eskom electricity power plant.

That Mpumalanga high court judge president Frans Legodi appeared to favour judge Brian Mashile was palpable during a rambling examination of the latter’s exposure and knowledge of the workings of the former’s office, his determined rise to the bench despite being blinded during an assault as a 16-year-old, an exploration of how the candidate’s blindness did not affect his productivity, that any complaints against him “did not detract” from his suitability to lead the court and that his contributions to the judiciary were “par excellence”.

The length of Legodi’s approach was in stark contrast to the abridged version that the judge president took to his deputy Segopotje Mphahlele’s interview later that day. For the deputy judge-president’s interview Legodi noted that he had already performed a “kind of handover” but observed a letter of objection to her appointment which “worries me deeply”.

Perhaps Legodi’s lack of subtlety may have added another spanner in the works for Mashile who, despite a solid interview, did not outshine Mphahlele.

He gave a perfunctory appraisal of the issues to be dealt with in the division, which included extended access to litigants travelling long distances, infrastructure issues (including a chunk of the court ceiling landing on his desk) and the introduction of braille to the court.

Asked by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo about the case backlogs in the division Mashile said that case-flow management systems were working in the division.

Responding to Justice Minister Ronald Lamola’s question about what his leadership philosophy was, Mashile said that he believed of “running ahead, but not leaving colleagues behind” adding that running decisions past his peers ensured that they became popular.

Mashile said that his reserved judgments were down to him “having to be more cautious than other people” because of his sight impairment.

On the legal fraternity’s unhappiness about the practise directions emanating from the division Mashile said that he didn’t want to be seen to be defending them and that he was open to “talk about the dissatisfaction” if appointed. He wasn’t