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Judge Ivana Bands

Capacity: Judge
Gender: Female
Ethnicity: White
Date of Birth: August 1980
Qualifications: LLM (NMMU) BSc, (Hons) (UPE), BSc (UPE)

Key judgments:

  • Spec Joint Venture v The Minister: Department of Water and Sanitation and Others (2806/2022) [2023] ZAECQBHC 8 (17 February 2023)
  • Eastern Cape Provincial Council of the South African Legal Practice Council v Mfundisi [2023] 1 All SA 90
  • Williams v Member of the Executive Council, Department of Health, Eastern Cape and another [2023] 1 All SA 562 (ECP)
  • Tembelani N.O. v Master of the Eastern Cape High Court Port Elizabeth and 10 Others, (3268/2019), Eastern Cape Division, Qeberha, delivered on 27 October 2020
  • Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure and another v Swarts [2022] JOL 57651 (ECP); (2596/2020) [2022] ZAECQBHC 29 (9 September 2022)

Candidate Biography:

It can be said, that without a doubt, Gqeberha Advocate Ivana Bands has dedicated herself to the training and mentoring of young legal practitioners, one of whom since she was 10 years old. Although not a member, the Eastern Cape branch of Advocates for Transformation nominated her for appointment, stating that “she has the credentials of being on the side of the poor and oppressed”.

Bands commenced her legal career in 2004 at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) where she worked, until 2006, as a legal research assistant to property law guru Professor P J Badenhorst, and intellectual damages expert Professor André Mukheibir.

For the next 3 years, Bands worked various non-legal jobs including as a recruitment consultant, and an associate in contracts and proposal development.

In 2010, Bands completed her pupillage and on 15 December 2010, became a full member of the Eastern Cape Bar in Gqeberha. With a large and complex practice, Band’s principal areas of legal interest include commercial law, intellectual property law, administrative law, family law and procurement.

Since 2020, Bands has served at least 31 weeks as an acting judge in the Eastern High Court (serving in Gqeberha, Makhanda and Bhisho). During her acting stints she has written various judgments.

In Eastern Cape Provincial Council of the South African Legal Practice Council v Mfundisi, a case to strike off an attorney for misconduct, Bands (with Judge Lowe concurring) ordered that the respondent be indeed struck off.

The respondent, Ms J Mfundisi practiced as an attorney in Makhanda. Prior to practising as an attorney, she was employed by the Road Accident Fund as a litigation officer in East London. There, she attempted to defraud a road accident benefit claimant by falsely advising them that the RAF would not assist them without legal representation. She then arranged legal representation [through a firm she later joined] for the claimant on 25% contingency fee agreement. When the RAF became aware of Mfundisi’s scheme, she was reported to the police and the legal practice council. She was ultimately convicted for fraud in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court, and now the Legal Practice Council wanted her struck off the roll of attorneys.

In her judgment, Bands remarked: “At the cornerstone of the legal profession, is the ethical code of conduct which governs its members’ moral and professional duties, not only towards each other and towards the members’ clients, but also towards the court.  It is a respected and honourable profession, which demands impeccable standards of honesty, integrity, and reliability from its members.”

Bands ruled that the fraud conviction, which was a crime of dishonesty, served as prima facie proof of misconduct, and that Mfundisi was not fit and proper to be an attorney. In deciding what sanction should follow from this conclusion, Bands ruled that an order of suspension, as Mfundisi had requested, would be inappropriate in the circumstances. She therefore struck her off the roll and disbarred her from practice. For its high quality and novel interpretation of section 40 of the Legal Practice Act, the judgment was carried in the law reports.

In Williams v MEC for Health, Eastern Cape, a widow claimed compensation against the provincial health department arising out of the tragic death of her husband through a fall from the fifth floor of the Livingstone Hospital in Gqeberha.

Mrs Williams argued that the nurses at the public hospital were negligent for allowing her husband to wander around the hospital while he was suffering visual and auditory hallucinations, and a state of psychosis due to alcohol withdrawal delirium.

The MEC, the superintendent general and the nursing staff denied this, arguing that they had taken all reasonable steps to provide care to the patient. Bands therefore had to determine whether there was causal negligence by the treating medical personnel, for which the MEC would be liable.

After considering the facts of the case and the expert evidence led at trial, Bands found that Mrs Williams had “proven negligence on behalf of the medical and nursing personnel in that they failed to properly sedate the deceased, to restrict his movements and adequately treat his condition. She found that the medial staff had not exercised the care and skill reasonably expected of them. Bands therefore found the MEC liable to compensate Mrs Williams for the death of her husband. This judgment was also carried in the law reports.

South African born, but from Italian descent, Bands holds a Bachelor of Science degree (microbiology and zoology), a BSc (Hons)(zoology), and an LLB degree, all from NMMU.

Describing her contribution to the pursuit of justice in South Africa, Bands notes that she has been actively involved in transformation initiatives at the Eastern Cape Bar, including serving on the pupillage committee for 8 years.

Two of her nominators are young black women whom she had encouraged to take up legal studies, employed as legal secretaries, and mentored until they entered the legal profession as attorneys. One of those she met at the gym, while the other she met as a 10 year old – definitive proof of her character and commitment.

April 2023 interview

Advocate Ivana Bands’s interview was successful. The JSC has recommended her for appointment to the Eastern Cape Division of the High Court