An attorney, Mbongwe has a B.Proc from the University of the North and has run Mandla Mbongwe Attorneys from 1985 too 2005. He also served as a partner at Moodie and Robertson Attorneys from 2006-07, before returning to his own firm. A lawyer for 31 years Mbongwe has spent 89 weeks acting as a judge in the high courts and has handed down 65 written judgments in that time.
Mbongwe was previously unsuccessful in attempts to get appointed to the Bench. Last year the Judicial Service Commission had raised concerns about his judicial temperament following complaints from advocate bodies about his rude attitude in court.
Advocate Mike Hellens SC asked how it could be that, in the 16 weeks that Mbongwe has spent acting since his previous interview, he had “turn[ed] into a model judge”?
Mbongwe said following his previous interview he had taken on the feedback from the commission and also sought advice from Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo. This exercise, Mbongwe said, meant his court behaviour had been “successfully” rectified.
Mbongwe confirmed that he did not have problems writing and finalising judgments promptly.