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Ms Sheila Cheiramiwa Lushaba

Ms SC Lushaba - 2019 JSC interviews - Judges Matter


Current position: Magistrate

Date appointed: 2018

Candidate bio:

Lushaba was permanently appointed as a magistrate in February 2018 after an acting spell dating back to 2013. She has worked in Amsterdam, Mpumalanga, near the border with Swaziland. Her experience involves dealing with cases which include the trafficking and sale of cannabis, housebreaking and family court matters.

She had previously worked as a prosecutor from 1998 to 2013 and was admitted as an advocate in 2017. Lushaba has attended several courses held by the South African Judicial Education Institute (SAJEI) and, according to her application form, is currently enrolled for an LLM in procedural law at the University of Pretoria.

According to her CV, she is a member of the Lutheran Church, God’s Greatest Harvest Church and the Amaqhawe Evangeli Zion Church. She was nominated by the chief family advocate and the acting station commander in Amsterdam. They both praised her sense of humour and temperament.

Lushaba holds a B Juris (1996) and an LLB (2000) from the University of the North. She has no acting experience in the superior courts.

October 2019 Interview:

October 2019 Interview Synopsis:

Some good career advice is to ensure that you understand the position that you are applying for, and make sure its an issue you care about and have read up on.

Ms Lushaba, who was being interviewed for a vacancy in the Electoral Court did not seem to have much background in electoral law, or in fact, in elections. This was in fact the opening concern of Judge Mbha, who checked that the candidate in fact understood that she was applying for a job on the electoral court, but not in fact as a judge. Things went south after that, and the lack of experience of the candidate became a more and more clear concern as the interview went on.

There was some debate as to how fair the questions were, as in a question from Msomi asking the candidate what her view was of the van Zyl report. In 2002, the Cabinet appointed an Electoral Task Team, headed by Dr Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert, to investigate electoral reform. They were to propose a preferable electoral system, in a rejection of the party list system. The candidate gave a confusing answer to the question, and later in the interview agreed that she had not read the report.

In a more recent development, the Constitutional Court found that the Constitution does require private party funding information to be recorded and preserved, as well as reasonable access to this information to be given to the public. The case of My Vote Counts v Minister of Justice and others is one of the biggest developments in how elections and parties work in recent years. The candidate suggested that she had read other judgements, and gave a quick summary of them. Unfortunately, this did not assist the candidate and her interview was unsuccessful.