The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on Monday confirmed Supreme Court of Appeals (SCA) President Mandisa Maya as Deputy Chief Justice.
The JSC considered the matter and “reported it to the President that President Maya is eligible for appointment as Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa,” said JSC spokeswoman Doris Tshepe. It was a majority decision.
Maya was nominated for Chief Justice by President Cyril Ramaphosa in March after a grueling round of interviews in which Maya was recommended by the JSC but then became Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and received the nomination of the President.
On Monday, Maya was the sole candidate and the interview was much less dramatic, although Maya faced some difficult questions, including about “deficiencies” in the administration of the SCA.
The questions came after reports that there had been clerical errors by the Circuit Board of Appeals Court of Appeals on two matters – both relating to former President Jacob Zuma.
A motion for summary judgment The hearing date in December Zuma’s medical parole appeal had gone awry due to email errors. Then, on May 17, the KwaZulu-Natal High Court was informed that an application by Zuma to Maya to reconsider a motion for leave to appeal filed in April is still “on its way” to Maya’s chambers be. span>
Maya told the JSC that while she accepted that “the money stops with the chief of the Supreme Court of Appeals,” failures in SCA administration are an “enduring problem” and she blames ” at the door of the Chief Justice’s Office”.
In a statement in May, the Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ) said: “The OCJ has acted as administrative support to the judiciary to address the challenges related to identifies these matters and addresses deficiencies in the control measures and processes within the Directorate-General. The OCJ has assured President Maya that they will take the necessary corrective action to address the failure of their support staff.”
Maya told the JSC several years ago when the SCA was hearing related cases with former acting prosecutor Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi, then head of the NPA’s specialized white collar crime unit, it had emerged long after the hearing that “Mr Mrwebi was not actually represented in court. The reason was simply that he hadn’t received a notice of dismissal from the registrar.”
She looked forward to meeting about it. It was a bigger problem that the OCJ was aware of.
She and the other Court of Appeals judges had done what they could, establishing procedures so that the Court worked.
But “I can’t be a registrar and sit down and make sure that a person who requested an expedited hearing has sent their request to my office.” span>
She later said: “I can’t leave my desk to see if DPP [Deputy Attorney Billy] Downer is in KwaZulu -Natal brought the case to my office on May 17th. I don’t have that capacity.”
Every day, “literally thousands” of processes went through the SCA. “And people are hired to take care of it… They have to do their job, that’s what they get paid for. And we will do our part.”
Maya was also questioned by Commissioner Glynnis Breytenbach about her decision to withdraw when the JSC had to decide whether the Western Cape Chief Justice, John Hlophe , guilty of gross misconduct.
She wasn’t friends with Hlophe, but she had known him for a long time and he was there for her at a difficult time in her life. She said maybe she was “overcautious.”
But as a judge for 22 years who had never retired from a case, “my feeling was that not sitting was the right thing to do.”
When asked by Breytenbach if she was unable to cast an independent spirit on Hlophe, Maya said she would, but passed the test also about perceptions.
“If you know that I had dinner at a colleague’s house and next I’m sitting in his suitcase, what will you think? What will come to your mind? And that’s my concern,” Maya said.
Asked for an update on the JSC’s decision whether it would recommend a suspension of Hlophe following its win in court, as Hlophe seeking a challenge The JSC’s finding of gross misconduct, Tshepe said, is “pending”.
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