Four women and a man vie for Eastern Cape judge posts

2016-04-04 18:00

Cape Town – Five candidates are vying for two judge vacancies in the Eastern Cape division.

The four women and a man were being interviewed by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) in Cape Town on Monday afternoon, for a spot in either Mthatha or Port Elizabeth.

Most of them had previously been interviewed by the JSC for judge positions.

Richard Brooks, 58, served as an acting judge in the Eastern Cape division of the High Court for the third term of 2013, for most of 2014 and all of last year. He continued as an acting judge this year. 

He was admitted as an advocate in 1986 and awarded senior counsel status in 2013.

On the acting judge experience, he said in his CV that these were "humbling and privileged opportunities to make a significant contribution to the law and the pursuit of justice in South Africa".

After a car accident in December 2013, he lost his right eye, but said in his CV that the "disability does not prevent me from accomplishing the vast amount of reading required for a judge".

Chuma Cossie, 59, was admitted as an advocate in 1999 and has held a number of acting judge positions since 2007.

She was involved in a number of organisations over the years, including ongoing membership with the SA Women's Lawyers Association. 

Cossie shared in her CV what motivated her to become a legal practitioner.

"As a young girl, I sat with my father in traditional meetings (imbizos) where justice was dispensed in the traditional way. I have always had a sense of justice by treating people fairly and just in my dealings with them."

She also said she was committed to protecting the vulnerable, especially women and children, and had played a major role in her community in this regard.

As a young scholar in 1969, she was convicted in the Uitenhage Magistrate's Court for theft of a handkerchief and passing of sentence was postponed for 12 months, according to her CV.

Eight years later, she was part of a group of Fort Hare university students convicted for attending an illegal gathering.

Advocate Namawabo Msizi, 55, was admitted as an advocate in 2008 and had served in acting judge positions since 2013.

In her CV, she stated her most significant contributions to the law and pursuit of justice included the outreach programmes she was involved in with the SA Women's Lawyers Association, and assisting new entrants to the Bar, especially women.

She was also part of a team of legal advisers who helped draft the Constitution in 1995.

Bulelwa Ndzondo, 59, started her career as a legal assistant. She has been an attorney firm director since 1992.

She was the only one of the five candidates to state an active political membership - the ANC, in her case.

Ndzondo was an acting judge numerous times in the same division between 2004 and this year. 

Citing her significant contributions to the field, she said she was the first female maintenance officer in Mdantsane and took the issue of child maintenance "very seriously".

The youngest of the candidates, Nonkosi Saba, 50, began as a district court prosecutor for criminal cases in 1990.

In this position, she said she mentored new prosecutors because she felt it extremely important to transfer skills. Educating rural people on maintenance, domestic violence and bail applications was another contribution.

She has held her position as a magistrate in the Bellville Regional Court since 2004. More recently, she also filled acting judge positions between 2010 and 2013.

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