Capacity: Regional Court President, North West
Appointed: November 2018
Date of Birth: November 1972
Qualifications: BA (Law) LLB (UWC)
- Massbuild (Pty) Ltd v MEC for the Department of Cooperative Governance Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, North-West Province and Another (Case No. M44/2020)  ZANWHC.
- The South African Legal Practice Council v Zilwa and Another (Case No. 7367/2021)  ZAGPPHC
- Molefe v Minister of Police (Case No. 433/2019)  ZANWHC (22 October 2020).
- Mthirara and Others v Minister of Transport and Others (Case No. 4594/2021)  ZAECMHC (26 October 2021).
North West Regional Court President Vuyokazi Noncembu started her legal career as a prosecutor eQonce (then Kings William’s Town) in 1999. She prosecuted matters ranging from petty crimes, family-related crimes to traffic crimes. As a regional prosecutor, her scope was expanded to include dealing with sexual offenses, particularly those involving child witnesses. This is probably where her interest in child justice was evoked and led her to be in the first cohort to receive training on the Child Justice Act from the Centre for Child Law at the University of Pretoria.
Her passion and training in child justice became an undeniable asset when she was a magistrate in 2005 dealing with a broad scope of matters in family law (with the emphasis on domestic violence, Children’s Court inquiries, and maintenance), criminal law, and other civil matters. As a rising star in the magistracy, Noncembu piloted the preliminary inquiry process used when dealing with child offenders before the inception of the Child Justice Act – this ensured that child witnesses still obtained justice but in a way that protected them. True to her passion and usefulness of her skills set, she would later be involved in the training of magistrates, police, and probation officers tasked with dealing with child offenders as per the Child Justice Act.
Noncembu was born in the then Port Elizabeth (now Gqeberha) in 1972. She obtained her BA Law and LLB from the University of the Western Cape in 1996 and 2007, respectively.
Before being appointed as a regional magistrate, Noncembu has been active in the training and mentorship of magistrates in case flow management and aspects around criminal law, family, and civil law.
In 2013, she was appointed as a regional magistrate in Verulam, KwaZulu-Natal, where she adjudicated more serious criminal matters such as murder, public violence, and sexual offences. At the time, Verulam only dealt with criminal cases but Nomcembu was instrumental in ensuring that civil cases are gradually introduced to that court, and she dealt with many of them. For this reason, and his experience as an acting judge in the commercial and insolvency court, she considers herself a “well-rounded judicial officer”. This experience is what probably propelled him to the senior position of Regional Court president of the North West province in 2018.
Noncembu has acted as a judge in the North West, Gauteng, and the Eastern Cape divisions of the High Court. In Mtirara and Others v Minister of Transport and Others, she sat in a judicial review application where she had to decide whether the decision by the respondent constituted administrative action in terms of section 6 of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act. Analysing the complex interplay between administrative law, labour law, and constitutional law, she found that the respondent’s decision did not constitute administrative action as contemplated in the Act.
The fifty-year-old Nomcembu’s appointment to the High Court in Gqeberha will probably feel like a deserved homecoming and the crowning moment to what has been an inspired legal career.
April 2022 JSC Interview