President appoints judges from April 2021 JSC interviews
In April 2021 (after a year’s delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic) the Judicial Service Commission sat for two weeks of marathon interviews for judicial appointments. In the end, a total of 75 candidates were interviewed for 39 judicial vacancies at courts across South Africa. We have previously written about our concerns regarding these interviews, see here.
In terms of section 174(6) of the Constitution, the president must appoint judges of all courts on the advice (or recommendation) of the JSC. Following the April 2021 interviews and the recommendations of the JSC, President Ramaphosa has now appointed 28 candidates as judges. They are for the Supreme Court of Appeal (five judges), the Labour Court (one judge), and the High Courts in Free State (Deputy Judge President), the Gauteng (Deputy Judge President and six judges), KwaZulu-Natal (three judges), Limpopo (Deputy Judge president), Mpumalanga High Court (Deputy Judge President and three judges), Northern Cape (Deputy Judge President and two judges), North West (two judges), and the Western Cape (two judges).
Conspicuous in its absence is the list of candidates interviewed for the Constitutional Court. That issue was, until recently, tied up in the courts in litigation filed by the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (CASAC), which took the JSC to court to set aside the interviews as unconstitutional and invalid, and run them afresh.
Encouraging on this list is the number of women appointed to the judiciary, particularly those who will be assuming leadership positions. We have previously lamented the dismal number of women occupying leadership positions in the judiciary (only four out of 19 – see here). So it’s a positive step for the judiciary that from this round of appointments, three more women will join judicial leadership as deputy judges president in Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and the Northern Cape.
For the full list of judges appointed by the president, download the President’s Act here: Presidents Act No 70 of 2021