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Judge Rean Strydom SC

Rean Strydom - Gauteng bench - JSC interviews 2019


Current position: Judge

Date appointed:

Candidate bio:

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has declined to appoint Strydom to the Bench in his three previous appearances before the body.

During those interviews he demonstrated a disinclination to contribute to transformation within the legal fraternity with regard to briefing and mentoring black juniors, and a tone-deaf approach to race relations in the country (see previous interview summaries and transcripts).

From 2011- 2019, he has acted in both the Mpumalanga and Gauteng Divisions of the high court for several stints and has heard the usual range of matters which dominate the high court roll: Road Accident Fund claims, the range of criminal matters and appeals against conviction and sentencing linked to the country’s high crime rates and civil procedure matters.

In 2016 he convicted a killer who allegedly drank his victims’ blood, handing down an effective 30-year sentence.

Mzameleni Cele was found guilty of two counts of murder, two of attempted murder, the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, and one of assault with intent to cause bodily harm. Strydom sentenced Cele to 15 years imprisonment for each count of murder, ten years for each count of attempted murder, five years for possession of a firearm, two years for possession of ammunition, and two years for the assault charge. The sentences were to run concurrently.

Cele, who laughed when sentenced was handed down, had gone on several killing sprees — usually at the same tavern he drank at, over a two year period. After the killings of random patrons he allegedly drank their blood, in one instance he sprinkled snuff on his victim’s body.

An advocate for over 35 years, Strydom was conferred silk (senior counsel) in 2010. His wide experience includes 12 years covering criminal matters, including his Pro Deo representation of 18 Inkatha Freedom Party members accused of participating in the Boipatong Massacre which left 45 people dead.

Strydom’s B.Comm (1997) and LLB (1979) degrees were completed at the University of Stellenbosch. He holds two Masters in Law degrees from the University of Johannesburg (formerly Rand Afrikaans University), in Constitutional Law (1994) and Corporation Law (2004).

October 2019 Interview:

 October 2019 Interview Synopsis: 

Advocate Rean Strydom SC returns to the JSC for the third occasion. That being the case, the Chief Justice simply asked him to ‘brag a bit’ on why the JSC should recommend him this time around. Strydom narrated his experience, touches on areas such as criminal law, administrative law, and insolvency law. He added that, at that point, he had acted for 100 weeks acting. On the time it takes him to deliver judgments, he stated that it takes him about a month and a half to hand down judgment. Judge President Mlambo ran through all of Adv Strydom’s acting stints and pointed out that he has written over 70 judgments.

On the last occasion when Adv Strydom was before the JSC, he failed to deal with a relatively simple question of whether, if appointed, he would dispose of his commercial interests in the family macadamia nut farm. Commissioner Norman SC asked this question again, which Adv Strydom said it would devolve to his brother. Commissioner Norman further asked about the seemingly problematic terminology Adv Strydom uses when referring to accused persons in a trial. He apologised for the error and committed to using full names in the future.

On the last occasion, Adv Strydom was vying for a position on the Gauteng Bench along the similarly-sounding Adv Strijdom. In a humorous moment, Commissioner Narend Singh picked up that the Black Lawyers Association indicated that they did not support Adv Strydom, when in fact they do no support Adv Strijdom. Commissioner Sigogo, who represents the BLA, quickly lept out of his chair to correct the error.

The rest of the interview went smoothly, with a relaxed Adv Strydom deftly dealing with the commissioners’ questions. The interview lasted nearly all of thirteen minutes.

Advocate Rean Strydom SC was recommended for appointment.

October 2018 Interview:

October 2018 Interview Synopsis:

In Exodus, there is a warning that the sins of fathers shall be visited upon their sons.

Perhaps Advocate Rean Strydom SC should have headed for the exit door as soon as Gauteng education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, representing the provincial premier on the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) during interviews for the Gauteng Division of the High Court, pointed out that his father was “a very difficult judge” who had “hampered transformation”.

Strydom maintained that he was a “different person” with different values to this father, who had worked as judge in then-South West Africa (Namibia) and in Gauteng. Strydom remembered calling him out on one occasion — the sentence imposed on a matter heard in Polokwane. Strydom did not go into the detail of this incident.

It was suggested to Strydom that his appointment would not enhance the transformation of the judiciary. He responded by saying he had, aside from his father, many other influences and that his knowledge of the constitution and independent-mindedness would assist in transforming the judiciary.

He reiterated that during 88 weeks of acting in the high court since 2011 he had always applied the law with a fairness which meant there were no complaints against him and delivered judgments timeously. “There have been no complaints that I was hard [with litigants], anti-government or anything,” Strydom said.

During an exchange over a family farm which was being run as a commercial macadamia nut enterprise, Strydom appeared unable to grasp that if appointed, he was expected to give up his directorship. He maintained it was a small concern of insignificant monetary value — a vanity project more than anything else.

Speaking of the labourers on the farm, in relation to his inability to speak an indigenous language, Strydom said: “They grew up with us, we know them well, we trust them, we communicate in English and to some extent, in Afrikaans.”

When asked about his judicial philosophy, Strydom said he “believed in the Constitution” which he applied, and that “substance must prevail over form”.

Strydom wasn’t recommended for appointment.


October 2015 JSC InterviewRead the transcript.