2020 Annual Review
HINDSIGHT IS 2020: INTRODUCING THE INAUGURAL JUDGES MATTER ANNUAL REVIEW
The year 2020 is a year that many of us would rather forget! The coronavirus pandemic disrupted our lives in unprecedented ways, forcing all of us to rethink our ways of living and working. The pandemic also took on our physical and mental health. The Judges Matter team was not spared. Despite this, we were able to adapt to a new way of working and continue with many of our initiatives under lockdown. We are therefore proud to present our inaugural Annual Review, which highlights some of our achievements from 2020 but also highlights areas in which we plan to improve in 2021. The Annual Review covers the period from January to December 2020. We’ve drawn some of the highlights below but the full report is included at the end.
The coronavirus lockdown forced the cancellation of both sessions of the Judicial Service Commission interviews, which have previously been the highlight of our calendar annually. This meant that Judges Matter had to pivot to other areas of work.
In 2020, we launched our focus project on the most important qualities of a Chief Justice. Our aim was to start a national conversation ahead of the retirement of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and the appointment of his successor in 2021.
Alongside our colleagues at the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit at UCT, we also produced three pieces of new research into the magistracy which we launched on a brand new platform; Magistrates Matter (www.magistratesmatter.co.za) which will now house all of our future work on the magistracy.
Our advocacy work reached new audiences and firmly established Judges Matter as the ‘go-to’ experts on the judiciary. During 2020 we fielded 82 media queries on a variety of issues relating to the judiciary. Our social media platforms also performed well: as at 16 December 2020, Judges Matter has 16 583 Twitter followers, 61 178 Facebook ‘likes’, and we saw 99 756 unique visitors throughout the year on the www.judgesmatter.co.za website.
We strengthened our relationships with our existing partners and established new relations with key stakeholders such as the Ministry of Justice, the Magistrates Commission, and regional magistrates across the country. We also secured new funding commitments from some of our long-term donors, which is encouraging in a time when funding is hard to come by.
The tremendous successes of 2020 have given us new energy that will propel to greater heights in 2021.