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JUDGE NANA TINTSWALO MAKHUBELE

 

Capacity: Judge 
Further appointments: N/A
First appointed as a judge: January 2018 (Gauteng)
Gender: Female
Ethnicity: Black African

 

Key judgments:

* Baleni v Regional Manager E. Cape Dept of Mineral Resources (96628/2015) [2020] ZAGPPHC 485; [2020] 4 All SA 374 (GP); 2021 (1) SA 110 (GP) (11 Sept 2020)
*
Daikin Air Conditioning SA Pty (Ltd) v Commissioner For The South African Revenue Service 50781/2015 [2016] ZAGPPHC 854 (14 Sept 2016)
* Transport Sector Retirement Fund v Bhopelo Beneficiary Fund & Others (48382/2018) [2020] ZAGPPHC 529 (31 Aug 2020)
* Gouws NO v Chapman Fund Managers (Pty) Ltd (55346 /18) [2019] ZAGPPHC 959; [2020] 1 All SA 428 (GP) (6 Aug 2019)

Candidate Bio

Judge Nana Makhubele is a judge of the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria.
Prior to becoming a judge in 2018, Makhubele had held several acting stints as a judge in the Gauteng High Court since 2013.

While in practice as an advocate, Makhubele SC was the first black female chairperson of the Pretoria Bar. Before entering the legal profession Makhubele had already experienced a variety of jobs. These included leaving school at 12-years-old to work as a child-minder and maid for a local school principal and later in life, as a social worker from 1984-1988.

While in practice, Makhubele served as the chairperson of the Water Tribunal, and also as the chairperson of the Income Tax Appeal Board in 2013. She joined the Bar in 1999 after working as a public prosecutor in Giyani and as Assistant Master of the High Court in Pretoria. Makhubele SC was widely recognised as a trailblazer in the legal profession, becoming one of the first black women in SA to rise to the rank of ‘silk’ (senior counsel status).

October 2017 Interview:

October 2017 – Interview synopsis

Advocate Nana Makhubele SC was brilliant at school. She skipped certain grades and, in one year, completed three of them simultaneously. Such academic excellence, however, was only rewarded with a stint as a child labourer.

Makhubele told the commission that, because of her meteoric rise through primary school she was set to enter secondary school at the same time as her elder brother. Her parents, however, were unable to pay for both children to attend high school and so Makhubele worked for a year for a local school principal who had recently had a baby.

“I effectively worked as a maid,” Makhubele said, “at first I was angry… but it was part of my formative foundation.”

Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo asked Makhubele to describe to the JSC an incidence of racism she had experienced while appearing before a white male judge in the high court in Gauteng. She said she had tried to explain to the judge why proceedings had been delayed but “the way he spoke to me, I cried in court”.

Makhubele said the judge had spoken to her “in a dismissive manner, as if he was speaking to some primary school kids”. The judge had been one of Makhubele’s colleagues during her acting stints and “that is what hurt me the most”, she said.

She mentioned another instance of a white male judge who “preferred to call white junior silks and ignore senior black silks” during roll call. This led to black advocates being “forced to bring in senior white colleagues… because when he or she stands up, the judge listens”.

Makhubele was one of the most qualified candidates in this round. She also performed very well in her interview and was duly recommended for appointment by the JSC.

Judicial misconduct

Gauteng High Court Judge Nana Makhubele is facing a misconduct investigation by the Judicial Conduct Tribunal which could lead to her impeachment. The investigation arises out of a complaint filed by civil society organisation #Unitebehind, which alleges that Makhubele violated the separation of powers principle by being both a judge and chair of a state-owned company and advancing corruption and state capture.

#UniteBehind filed its complaint against Judge Makhubele in January 2019. Over a year later, in March 2020, the complaint was referred to the Judicial Conduct Committee. The JCC held a private hearing where both #UniteBehind and Judge Makhubele were given the opportunity to make representations and legal arguments. After this hearing, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng (joined by fellow JCC members Judge Dumisani Zondi and Judge Nambitha Dambuza) handed down a written decision in which he found that #UniteBehind had established a prima facie case of gross misconduct against Judge Makhubele which might lead to her impeachment. CJ Mogoeng recommended that the JSC establish a Judicial Conduct Tribunal to investigate the complaint against Makhubele.

Read more about the Judicial Tribunal proceedings against Judge Makhubele here.

Related reading:

Judge Makhubele: High Court Judge and Parastatal Chair?

Seeking clarity on judicial conduct