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Mr M L Twala

Candidate bio: 

Twala has worked as an attorney for over 30 years and has run his own practise, Twala Attorneys, since 2002. He was also admitted as a conveyancer in 1994 and a notary public in 2009. He obtained a B.Proc from the University of Zululand in 1982, a Certificate of Sports Law from the University of Pretoria and a Management Advancement Programme diploma from the Wits Business Programme. Twala was unsuccessfully interviewed for a position on the Bench a year ago.


Interview synopsis:  

Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, noting that Twala was a “township boy” from Katlehong, asked him what message his possible appointment would send out into society.

Twala responded that it would send out “a message of confidence in the judiciary, a message of confidence in education”.

Convicted of a drunk-driving charge decades ago, Twala was asked by Gauteng education minister Panyaza Lesufi whether this would affect his adjudication of such matters. Twala said: “I was convicted of driving under the influence and I think I paid my dues for that. I stopped [drinking] 26 years ago… I’ve seen what alcohol does” in cases of accidents that he has dealt with through Road Accident Fund matters.

Twala was asked by justice minister Michael Masutha to comment on the jurisprudence developed around the right to housing in South Africa after the fall of apartheid. He said he thought that while “government had tried its best to provide housing” through public programmes a “problem” he had identified as a conveyancer was that the state was “building houses without any proclamation” on the land used, which made it “very difficult to issue title deeds” and transfer the properties to the relevant beneficiaries.

He added that there should be a a closer examination of the role of the private sector, and financial institutions especially, about their roles on housing foreclosures.

During his interview Twala noted that personal injury cases are “matters of substance to me” since they rarely go to the Supreme Court of Appeal or the Constitutional Court.

Asked by commissioner Narend Singh about what changes he would make to the process of acting as a judge following his experiences on the Bench, Twala said “direct mentorship” was an important area that required attention. “It is easy to say here [at the JSC] that ‘My door is always open’” but the reality in some divisions was that “you find you are talking through a glass”.