President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Constitutional Court judge Sisi Khampepe as acting deputy chief justice, effective from November 1.
While Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng is on leave, Khampepe will act in his position until November 30, the Constitutional Court said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
"Because of his involvement with the commission of inquiry on state capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is not available to perform his usual duties," the statement read.
"In terms of the Superior Courts Act, as acting deputy chief justice, Justice Khampepe will exercise the powers and perform the functions of the chief justice as acting chief justice."
Khampepe graduated with an LLM degree from Harvard University in the United States and served articles at Bowman Gilfillan.
'Renowned for defence of workers'
"Her main area of practice and for which she was renowned was the defence of workers against unjust laws and unfair employment practices."
In 1995, Khampepe was appointed by the late president Nelson Mandela as a commissioner in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
In 2004, she was appointed by then-president Thabo Mbeki to oversee the Zimbabwean elections, and in February 2006 the secretary-general of the Commonwealth of Nations, Donald McKinnon, seconded her as a member of the Commonwealth Observer Group to the presidential and parliamentary elections in Uganda.
She chaired the commission of equality, which looked into the mandate and location of the directorate of special operations known as the Scorpions, from 2005 to 2006.
In December 2000, Khampepe was appointed to the Gauteng Division of the High Court. Khampepe also served as acting deputy judge president of the Labour Courts, and later elevated to the apex court, in October 2009.