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South Africa gets first female president of second highest court

South Africa gets first female president of second highest court

South Africa

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has appointed Justice Mandisa Maya as the President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, the president’s office said on Friday, making her the first woman to occupy the position.

“Her appointment to the position elevates her to the third highest position in the Judicial Branch, after the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic,” Zuma said.

The 53-year-old served as the Acting President of the court since last year till her appointment. She had her law degree from the University of Natal in the city of Durban before moving on to get her Masters of Laws at the Duke University in the United States.

Her appointment to the position elevates her to the third highest position in the Judicial Branch, after the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic.

She has a long history in the country’s legal arena starting off in 1987-1988 as an Attorney’s clerk with a private firm. She taught law at the University of Transkei at some point before joining the bench as an Acting Judge of the Cape High Court and Mthatha High Court in 1999.

She was appointed full-time judge of the Mthatha High Court a year later. In a space of six years she was a Judge of Appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal, she has also held positions as Acting Judge in Namibia (2008) and Lesotho (2015).

She is married to Dabulamanzi Mlokoti and has three children.

Role of the Supreme Court of Appeal in South Africa’s Justice System

The Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa is the highest appellate court in the country. It was first established in 1910 when the Union of South Africa was created. The name of the court was changed on the adoption of the Constitution in 1996.

The Supreme Court of Appeal is, except in respect of certain labour and competition matters, the second highest court in South Africa. Previously it and the Constitutional Court were both ‘apex courts’ with different areas of jurisdiction. However, since August 2013 the Constitutional Court has been the highest court in all matters.

In terms of the Constitution, the Supreme Court of Appeal: – * may decide any matter, except certain labour and competition matters; but * is purely an appeal court, and it may decide only appeals and issues connected with appeals.

Photo credit: Mail and Guardian South Africa

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