As the only woman vying to become South Africa’s next Chief Justice, Judge Mandisa Maya certainly stands out among her male counterparts. Maya, who is President of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), was interviewed by the Judicial Services’ Commission (JSC) on Wednesday, 2 February 2022.
Having watched her interview, many are rooting for Judge Maya to be the next person to head the Constitutional Court. The post was left vacant after Former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng retired in October 2021.
Three other prominent jurists have their eyes set on the seat: Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, Constitutional Court Judge Mbuyiseli Madlanga and Gauteng High Court Judge President Dunstan Mlambo.
Judge Maya reckons she is the perfect fit for the job and told the JSC that even the justices at the highest court in the land would agree.
“I say this without fear of contradiction that Acting Chief Justice Raymond] Zondo and the rest of the constitutional court justices would support my leadership; I have no doubt.”
Judge Mandisa Maya
SIX FACTS ABOUT JUDGE MANDISA MAYA
- Judge Mandisa Maya was born in 1964 in Tsolo in the rural Eastern Cape
- She holds a B.Proc from the then-University of Transkei (Unitra, now Walter Sisulu University), an LLB from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and an LLM in labour law from Duke University in the United States
- Judge Maya used to work as a court interpreter and prosecutor before joining the Women’s Legal Defense Fund in Washington DC
- She has acted as a judge of the Constitutional Court in 2012
- She was appointed to the High Court in Mthatha in 2000 until 2005, after which she joined the SCA, becoming the first black woman on that court
- According to Judges Matter, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Judge Maya reacted proactively, moving to virtual hearings and effectively clearing the SCA’s workload for that term