‘It is a great honour’

2014-07-05 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL judges and lawyers yesterday bid farewell to one of their own, Judge Kevin Swain, who leaves for Bloemfontein to take up a permanent post as a judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

Judge Swain’s appointment was ­confirmed by President Jacob Zuma last month after a long stint as an acting judge at the SCA. Before that, he had sat on the KwaZulu-Natal bench for 11 years.

Judges and lawyers yesterday hosted a formal lunch at Pietermaritzburg’s Redlands Hotel to bid Swain adieu.

One of the lawyers said Swain was a great addition to the SCA and his appointment a credit to Pietermaritzburg. “He is the first in Pietermaritzburg to be appointed to the SCA. He is an amazing person and a brilliant ­legal mind.”

Swain described his appointment as a great honour. He said he was looking forward to the challenges that will come with his new position.

“My 11 years on the bench in KwaZulu-Natal have prepared me for this challenge,” he said, while acknowledging that the task before him was daunting.

“I have been acting there for a while. My appointment by President Jacob Zuma, however, came in June … The judges there have also welcomed me.

“The work I will be doing there is complicated and important because the decisions I will be making there will be binding on all the lower courts,” he said.

Judge Swain said he would miss his colleagues in Pietermaritzburg and the relaxed atmosphere in KwaZulu-Natal.

Business Day newspaper reported in April that during the interviews by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), Swain was a firm favourite for one of the available posts.

“Judge Swain was one of the favourite candidates for the job in the legal community and had already done a lengthy acting stint on the appeal court,” it said.

The JSC had recommended his ­appointment to the SCA.

The paper reported that Swain was well liked by his colleagues at the SCA.

“SCA president Lex Mpati said the reason he kept asking him back to act was because his colleagues kept saying: ‘Please keep Kevin’.

“He added that it had not been easy to persuade KwaZulu-Natal Judge President Chiman Patel to ­release him,” the newspaper reported.

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