JSC concludes interviews for the 2 highest courts in SA

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The Judicial Service Commission (JSC).:
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC).:
CORNEL VAN HEERDEN .
  • The Judicial Service Commission has concluded a three-day interview marathon for judges. 
  • The Supreme Court of Appeal needs to fill five vacancies. 
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa is to make the final decision on who gets appointed. 

After three days of intensive interviews, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) concluded its interviews for the two highest courts in the country. 

There are five vacancies at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) and two at the Constitutional Court.  

The JSC, in a marathon interview session, grilled 11 judges over why they should be chosen to fill the benches of the second highest court in the country. 

The SCA interviews followed those for the Constitutional Court judges. 

Justices Mahube Molemela and Rammaka Mathopo as well as Gauteng High Court judges Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane, Jody Kollapen and Bashier Vally have been shortlisted for the Constitutional Court. President Cyril Ramaphosa will make a decision on who will take the bench. 

Work ethic  

Gauteng High Court Judge Wendy Hughes was commended for her work ethic in her acting role at the SCA.

Hughes, who appeared confident during her interview for a position at the SCA, did four stints at the court. And during one of those, she said her parents were ailing and later died. 

But that did not stop her from working hard. 

Hughes was an attorney before she became a judge in 2012.

JSC president Judge Mandisa Maya commended her work ethic. 

Hughes said on Wednesday:

I am hard working, I am diligent, and I do the best that I can do. I get my judgments out. I am ready if the commission sees that I am ready of course.

She added one of her ruling - in relation to maladministration and contempt of court - was upheld by the Constitutional Court and that gave her a boost.

Hughes said she was good enough for the SCA.

READ | JSC wraps up ConCourt interviews, will deliberate on which candidates to recommend to Ramaphosa

"You know you can come from whatever walk of life and you can make it.

"I say so because of the circumstances that I come from. And having an invitation to the SCA really boosts my morale and confirmed and fortified my review that I am a jurist, and I am being recognised and that is what being invited to the SCA did to me," she added. 

The JSC also interviewed KwaZulu-Natal High Court Judge Trevor Richard Govern who has served at the SCA for three-and-a-half years.

Govern said he was more than ready to make a contribution to the court.

Judge Sharise Weiner had to sit through questions about whether she should be appointed because of her age. Weiner is 67 and if appointed would serve five years before retiring.

She said age was another way people were discriminated against. 

She said:

Age seems to be the final frontier of discrimination, which is also unconstitutional.

Maybe, Weiner added, it was time judges sat for longer on the bench. 

She was the founding member of Lawyers for Human Rights in 1979. 

Another candidate, Judge Lloyd Rogers, was asked why he did not apply for a seat at the Constitutional Court. He joined the Bar in 1988 and is also an author. 

Rogers said: "I have never acted there but my impression is that my talents will be better used in a more generalised court."

He was first appointed as a judge in 2003 and this was his third interview for the position. Interviews for judges will conclude on 23 April.


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