The Judges Matter Top 10 JSC interviews 2017
As part of our work and to create greater transparency around the judiciary and the JSC interviews, we write profiles and interview synopses of each of the candidates who are interviewed by the JSC. To give you some insight into some of the judicial candidates who appear before the JSC we’ve put together a list of our top ten most popular JSC candidates:
Zondo wiped a tear from his eye as he was asked by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to recall his impoverished childhood and the difficulties he overcame — an absent migrant labourer father, the heavy expectation to support his family after completing school — to study law at university.
The first female Deputy-President of the SCA, Judge Maya, again made history as the first female head of the appellate division.
It was inevitable that during her JSC interview Judge Theron would be asked about her experiences at the SCA and she retold an experience during her early days when she had followed up on a question that a senior judge had asked counsel with one of her own. The senior judge instructed the lawyer to ignore her question and merely answer his: “It made me feel very small, it made me feel as if I had done something stupid or silly,” she said.
Advocate David Unterhalter SC is one of South Africa’s foremost silks and has appeared in various high profile cases which have landed up in the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court.
At his JSC interview Judge Kollapen, the former head of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) started his interview responding to biographical questions which revealed an early attuning to the humanist solidarity that he has demonstrated throughout his adult life.
During his fifteen minutes in the hot-seat Advocate Dali Mpofu SC commended the candidate on his excellent judgment writing skills in a “complex” social grants case in which Mpofu had appeared. Van der Westhuizen said as a student he was constantly “irked” by the loquacious judgments he studied and aimed to be more succinct, which he did by approaching it as an “analytical exercise”.
In the two years that Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema has sat on the Judicial Service Commission he has rarely back-pedalled in the face of answers by an interviewee. So, the exchange with Advocate Bantubonke Tokota SC proved a novelty for him and regular commission watchers as the 64 year-old lawyer took him on with a firmness which, at times, seemed almost dismissive of Malema’s attempt to bludgeon him into a corner, or a concession.
An expert in maritime, commercial, labour and company law, Wallis is considered one of the most well-rounded judges at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).
The majority of the questions put to Judge Majiedt during his interview revolved around the racial divisions in at the appellate court, following the revelations by acting SCA president Mandisa Maya during her interview for permanent appointment, of severe racial fractures there.
Judge Bashier Vally has a lugubrious demeanour, like a cartoon character whose pessimism ensures a dark cloud constantly hanging over his head. Judge Vally came into the spotlight in May this year when he ruled against President Jacob Zuma in his Cabinet reshuffle case.