Ramaphosa nominates Justice Molemela for judge president of the SCA

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) could soon have a new judge president, following the appointment of Justice Mandisa Maya as the country’s first female deputy chief justice.

SCA judge president

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday informed Chief Justice Raymond Zondo of his consideration to appoint Justice Mahube Betty Molemela as judge president of the Bloemfontein-based court.

ALSO READ: Judge Mandisa Maya ‘suitable’ for Deputy Chief Justice post, says JSC

Justice Molemela is currently a judge of the SCA.

Justice Maya was appointed to the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) in July last year and SCA Deputy President Xola Mlungisi Petse has been acting in the position of judge president ever since.

Maya commenced her duties at the ConCourt on 1 September 2022.

The Presidency said Ramaphosa had invited the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to advise on the suitability of Justice Molemela to hold the office of the president of the SCA.

The president undertook this consultation in terms of Section 174(3) of the Constitution.

This constitutional provision sets out that the president, as head of the national executive – and after consulting the JSC and the leaders of parties represented in the National Assembly – appoints the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice.

After consulting the JSC, the president appoints the President and Deputy President of the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Justice Molemela’s judicial career

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, said Justice Molemela had established an illustrious judicial career spanning over 15 years, having first been appointed as a judge of the Free State Division of the High Court in 2008.

She holds a B.Proc degree (University of Fort Hare); LLB, LLM and LLD (Honoris Causa) – all three from the University of the Free State. 

“During her 15 years on the bench she served as a judge president of the Free State Division of the High Court for three years before her elevation to the Supreme Court of Appeal in 2018.

“She has also served as a judge of the Labour and Labour Appeal Court, acting judge of the Competition Appeal Court and acting judge of the Constitutional Court for two terms in 2015,” said Magwenya in a statement.

Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe

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