Our most read articles of 2022
Throughout the year we write articles to share information about the JSC, the judges’ interview process, and the South African judicial system as a whole.
This year was a particularly busy year for the judiciary, marked by a number of significant events, including but not limited to the Chief Justice Interviews, the Deputy Chief Justice interviews and the ongoing cases involving Judge Hlophe. Some of the still pending issues facing the JSC have been rolling over from year to year, resulting in our taking a slightly different approach with this year’s review.
Please enjoy our 2022 review of ‘The top 10 most read articles published in 2022’ and ‘The top 10 most read opinion pieces from all time’.
Judges Matter : Top 10 most read articles of 2022
For the first time in history, four exceptional candidates are in the running for the top post in the country’s judiciary. In this article, we note the unique qualities that might boost their chances of getting the job, and those that might weaken them. Before doing so, it’s important to discuss the kind of qualities needed for the modern Chief Justice of South Africa.
2. THE APPOINTMENT OF THE NEW CHIEF JUSTICE: WHAT WENT WRONG? IS IT AS BAD AS IT SEEMS? WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
The process of appointing South Africa’s next Chief Justice was never going to be a simple one. The open and competitive process announced by President Ramaphosa led to four exceptional judges putting themselves forward for appointment. However, the Judicial Service Commission’s handling of the interviews marked a low point. Where do we do from here?
The 2022 State of the Judiciary Report is a comprehensive report on the state of the judiciary in the High Courts in three Southern African countries, namely Malawi, Namibia, and South Africa. The first post-Covid, the report and its subsidiary reports are the result of a comparative analysis that focuses on the key issues of independence, efficiency and operations, and accountability in the three judiciaries.
On 16 September 2021 President Ramaphosa kicked-off the process of selecting South Africa’s next chief justice by making an unprecedented call for nominations from the public. Although it came only 20 days before the retirement of outgoing Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, this historic break from past practice is a boost for transparency and participatory democracy, but what happens next?
Advocate Vuyani Ngalwana, a senior advocate, lodged a complaint with the Judicial Conduct Committee (JCC) against retired Constitutional Court Justice Johann Kriegler. The complaint was based on statements Kriegler made in the media about Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe. The JCC made its ruling.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that on the morning of 5 January 2022 serious damage made made on the Constitutional Court building, supposedly gunshot marks. Judges Matter condemns this attack on the Constitutional Court as a symbol of our democracy, and calls on authorities to act.
Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s remarks that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s election as ANC president spared the country from “further damage” have prompted a judicial misconduct complaint against him by ANC leader Tony Yengeni. Although the complaint itself lacks merit, it’s a timely reminder about the risk to judicial independence caused by judges participating in commissions of inquiry.
In a Presidential Minute signed on 16 December 2021, then Acting President David Mabuza appointed 23 judges to various High Court divisions. The appointments came ten weeks after the October 2021 JSC interviews, amid growing frustration and concern regarding the slow pace at which the Presidency confirms judicial appointments to crucial vacancies. Why is the president so slow?
The April 2022 interviews were always going to be a weathervane of sorts, as the first Judicial Service Commission (JSC) sitting to be chaired by a new, now permanently appointed chief justice, Raymond Zondo. In this article, Judges Matter reviews the week-long interviews and what they tell us about the future of the JSC.
Following the April 2022 interviews, President Ramaphosa appointed 8 judges to various courts across the country.
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Judges Matter: Top 10 most read opinion pieces from all time:
Here is an overview of the seating plan for the members of the Judicial Service Commission as at the JSC October 2022 interviews: **Diagram updated 26 September 2022** The Judicial Service Commission is the constitutional body set up to appoint judges to the bench, to discipline them for misconduct, but also to advise the Government on any matter […]
For the first time in history, four exceptional candidates are in the running for the top post in the country’s judiciary. In this article, we note the unique qualities that might boost their chances of getting the job, and those that might weaken them. Before doing so, it’s important to discuss the kind of qualities needed for the modern Chief Justice..
Today we celebrate Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy and remember the vision that he had for the Rainbow Nation of South Africa.
What role can judges play in preventing the Stalingrad legal strategy of criminals bent on manipulating the system? To begin let us define what we mean by a Stalingrad strategy: This is a strategy of wearing down the plaintiff by tenaciously fighting anything the plaintiff presents by whatever means possible and appealing every ruling favourable […]
Advocates being struck off the roll is the subject of some debate at the moment, and the question generally comes down to whether the person is ‘fit and proper.’ That sounds vague, but because the courts have spent time defining it, there are definitely circumstances where an individual can be deemed to be not fit […]
In this installment, we seek to explain how magistrates are selected and appointed in South Africa. We have done a similar piece which focuses on the appointment of judges. It is important that we also do one on magistracy. Magistrates can be appointed on an acting basis (as Acting Magistrates) or on substantive basis.
7. THE APPOINTMENT OF THE NEW CHIEF JUSTICE: WHAT WENT WRONG? IS IT AS BAD AS IT SEEMS? WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
The process of appointing South Africa’s next Chief Justice was never going to be a simple one. There was unprecedented process involving the consideration of four candidates, part of which involved public interviews by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), a body which has been subject to much criticism over the years. And, in 2021, had […]
On 16 September 2021 President Ramaphosa kicked-off the process of selecting South Africa’s next chief justice by making an unprecedented call for nominations from the public. Although it came only 20 days before the retirement of outgoing Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, this historic break from past practice is a boost for transparency and participatory democracy, […]
Initiated on the understanding that the well-being of the judiciary is essential to the functioning of a modern state and the well-being of its citizens, the report’s key output was to highlight both court users’ and judges’ perceptions of judges and the judiciary, across Malawi, Namibia, and South Africa, how they are treated by stakeholders, and what biases are experienced.
Why do we spend so much time talking about what the Chief Justice says and does? In recent weeks, the Chief Justice has been in the news regularly, with attention being focused on the judiciary’s response to the Covid-19 crisis, as well as the seemingly never-ending saga of complaints and counter-complaints between judges of the Western Cape High […]