5 things to know about South Africa’s new deputy chief justice, Mandisa Maya

Justice Mandisa Maya.
Justice Mandisa Maya.
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  • President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed Judge Mandisa Maya as deputy chief justice.
  • She will start her role on 1 September 2022.
  • Judge Maya's career in law spans over 20 years.

On Monday,  25 July 2022, the Presidency announced the appointment of Justice Mandisa Maya as the country’s new deputy chief justice.

According to a statement by the Presidency, the 58-year-old will commence her duties on 1 September 2022.

“President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Madam Justice Mandisa Muriel Lindelwa Maya, current President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, as Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa with effect from 1 September 2022,” the statement reads.

President Cyril Ramaphosa says this appointment will bring positive change to the judiciary.

“Justice Maya will contribute to the ongoing transformation process of the judiciary. Her ascendency to the apex court will serve as a beacon of hope for scores of young women and make them believe that South Africa is a country of possibilities, regardless of gender, social or economic circumstances,” the statement continues to read.

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According to News24, Judge Maya was the only candidate who was interviewed for the post after it became vacant when Justice Raymond Zondo was appointed as chief justice by the President in March 2022.

Here are five things you should know about the new deputy chief justice, Mandisa Maya:

1. She is the current president of the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa

According to Judges Matter, Judge Maya has a law career that spans over 20 years. She began her career as a court interpreter and prosecutor before joining the Women’s Legal Defense Fund in Washington DC, in the U.S. In 2000, she was appointed as a judge for the Eastern Cape High Court. She served for six years before becoming the judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal.

In 2016 she was appointed as deputy president of the Supreme Court of Appeal and was promoted to the president of the Supreme Court of Appeal the following year.

2. She’s the first woman to hold the positions of Deputy President and President of the Supreme Court of Appeal

Judge Maya is the first woman to hold the positions of Deputy President and the President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, a statement by the Presidency reveals.

“Justice Maya brings more than two decades of a distinguished career as a judicial officer. She is the first woman to hold the positions of Deputy President and President of the Supreme Court of Appeal,” the statement reads.

3. She was nominated to become the Chief Justice in 2022

Earlier this year, Judge Maya was one of four candidates for the position of chief justice and the choice of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) who recommended her over Zondo and Justices Mbuyiseli Madlanga and Dunstan Mlambo after a series of often fraught interviews in February. However, President Ramaphosa appointed Justice Raymond Zondo as the Chief Justice, he commenced his new role in April 2022.

4. She has multiple degrees from a number of universities

According to the Constitutional Court, Judge Maya holds three Degrees: a B Proc (1986) from the University of Transkei,  LLB (1988) from the  University of Natal and an LLM (1990) from Duke University, NC, U.S. She was also elected the President of the South African Chapter of the International Association of Women Judges and, in 2012, received the South African Women Lawyers Icon award for her role in empowering and mentoring women in both the judiciary and the broader legal profession

5. She is a mother of three 

Judge Maya is married to Dabulamnazi Mlokoti and has three children.

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