Pretoria News

Supreme Court of Appeal top picks

- ZINTLE MAHLATI

THREE women and two men have made the final list of Supreme Court of Appeal picks for appointmen­t by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

The JSC chose the final five yesterday following a gruelling interview process.

The following High Court judges who serve in various divisions across the country have been selected for appointmen­t: Gauteng Judge Zeenat Carelse, Pretoria-based Judge Wendy Hughes, Eastern Cape Judge Nolwazi Penelope Mabindla-Boqwana, KwaZulu-Natal Judge Trevor Richard Gorven and Gauteng Judge Selewe Peter Mothle.

Gauteng High Court deputy Judge President Judge Aubrey Ledwaba, who faced tough questions over his handling of the sealing of the CR17 financial documents, did not make the shortlist.

The JSC will now submit the names to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who will have to appoint the candidates picked by the JSC. On Wednesday, the JSC chose five candidates for Ramaphosa to make a decision on two vacant positions at the Constituti­onal Court.

The JSC selected: High Court Judge Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane, High Court Judge Jody Kollapen, Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Mahube Molemela, SCA Judge Rammaka Mathopo and Judge Bashier Vally.

Concourt justices are appointed for a non-renewable 12-year term. Further vacancies will open up in October when Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng retires, along with judges Chris Jafta and Sisi Khampepe.

The commission also appointed a deputy judge president for the Free State high court division.

Although there was concern over her short stint as a judge, Judge Nobulwao Mbhele was appointed to serve in the role.

The JSC interviewe­d three candidates for the deputy judge president of the Free State High Court.

A fellow candidate, Judge Johannes Daffue, raised concerns that Mbhele had only been a judge for six years and might be too young for the role. The JSC commission­ers took exception to Daffue’s claims, and seem to have decided to pick her over other candidates.

Mbhele has served as a judge since 2016. She has covered numerous rape cases. She also sat to hear a dispute between the royal family and the premier of the Eastern Cape regarding a dispute to terminatio­n of tenure of the acting king of the AbaThembu nation.

Mbhele will serve alongside Free State Judge President Cagney Musi.

During her interview, Mbhele was asked how she would be able to lead senior judges in her division. She said that from her previous work at Legal Aid she was able to lead much older colleagues.

When asked about judicial independen­ce, Mbhele said judges should not allow themselves to be “contaminat­ed” by criticism over the judgments they issued.

The JSC selections will continue today.

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