ConCourt Bench: Ramaphosa appoints judges Zukisa Tshiqi, Stevan Majiedt

2019-09-11 18:55
The Constitutional Court. (File, City Press)

The Constitutional Court. (File, City Press)

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has made two new appointments to the Constitutional Court Bench – judges Zukisa Tshiqi and Stevan Majiedt – to fill vacancies which justices Dikgang Moseneke  (former deputy chief justice) and Bess Nkabinde left.

Tshiqi and Majiedt are expected to start on October 1.

According to a statement from the Presidency, Ramaphosa appointed them from a list of five nominees the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) prepared after the commission conducted interviews in April 2019.

"The president has made these appointments after consulting the chief justice of the Republic of South Africa and the leaders of the parties represented in the National Assembly," read the statement, which was released on Wednesday. 

Section 174(4) of the Constitution empowers the president to appoint judges of the Constitutional Court following consultation with the chief justice and leaders of political parties represented in the National Assembly.

"President Ramaphosa has expressed his confidence that justices Tshiqi and Majiedt will further enrich jurisprudence at the apex court, which has served the nation with distinction throughout the democratic dispensation," read the statement.

Tshiqi, 58, holds a B Proc degree and a postgraduate Diploma in Labour Law.

She started her legal career as a legal coordinator at the South African Council of Churches from 1986 to 1989. She served her articles from 1989 to 1991 and practised as an attorney until 2005, when she was appointed as a judge of the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.

Before her permanent appointment, she served as a part-time mediator, facilitator, and arbitrator under the Independent Mediation Service of South Africa (IMSSA), and at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), and as a mediator at the Land Claims Commission.

She acted at the Competition Appeal Court from 2007 to 2009. She was appointed to the Bench of the Supreme Court of Appeal in 2009 and had an acting stint at the Constitutional Court from November 2014 to May 2015.

Majiedt, also 58, holds BA Law and LLB degrees from the University of the Western Cape. He was admitted as an advocate in 1984 and practised as such until 1995 when he was appointed as a chief provincial state law adviser in the Northern Cape Office of the Premier from 1996 to 1999.

In January 2000, Majiedt returned to private practice as an advocate and this culminated in his appointment as an acting judge of the Northern Cape High Court. It was during that year that he was appointed permanently to the Bench of the Northern Cape High Court.

In December 2010, Majiedt was appointed to the Bench of the Supreme Court of Appeal.

He acted at the Constitutional Court from February to May in 2014.

He also served as a member of the National Association of the Democratic Lawyers (Nadel) from 1986 to 2000. He is the chairperson of the Rules Board for the Courts of Law and a council member of the South African Judicial Education Institute (Sajei). 

In addition, he is the chancellor of the Sol Plaatje University.

Majiedt was part of a panel of Supreme Court of Appeal judges who overturned the culpable homicide verdict of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius.

During his interview in April, he told the JSC that he would not be trampled on by people who think he is not "black enough".

Tshiqi told the commission she loved acting at the Constitutional Court but had to field criticism that she seemed hesitant to write judgments at the SCA; appeared reluctant to write minority judgments and did not have much non-criminal experience.

She said this conclusion was based on her judgments not being readily available, adding that she had instructed that they be uplifted.

On the transformation issue, she suggested the office of the state attorney be used to ensure more black candidates were given chances.

Her interview went slightly awry when a commissioner wanted to know why her former firm of attorneys had been paying for her cellphone since 2005.

She started explaining it was an arrangement they had, but Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng interrupted her, saying she must not even justify it.

She said she had declared it, but now sees it was wrong.

The three candidates on the JSC's shortlist who did not get the nod were Judges Annali Basson, Patricia Goliath and Jody Kollapen.

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