Deputy Chief Justice Maya Advocates for Judicial Reforms in JSC Interview

Deputy Chief Justice Maya Advocates for Judicial Reforms in JSC Interview

  • Deputy Chief Justice Mandisa Maya highlighted significant challenges, such as overwhelming caseloads, poor infrastructure, and safety concerns, during her JSC interview
  • She advocated for more judges and operational reforms to enhance efficiency
  • Maya pledged to uphold judicial integrity and ensure access to justice for all
Chief Justice interview
Deputy Chief Justice Mandisa Maya, nominated for South Africa's chief justice position, was interviewed for the position. Images: Felix Dlangamandla/Daily Maverick/Gallo Images via Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

As the new and possibly incoming Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice Mandisa Maya has plans to implement judicial reforms and create a healthier working environment for judges.

During her Tuesday interview with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), she pointed out several significant challenges facing South Africa’s judiciary.

She advocated appointing more judges and improving court operations to manage workloads better after highlighting judiciary challenges such as poor infrastructure and safety concerns.

Maya emphasized the need for enhanced security and independence for the judiciary to ensure justice for all, especially the vulnerable.

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Her interview follows President Cyril Ramaphosa’s nomination of Maya for the chief justice position, which will become vacant on 31 August, when Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s term ends.

SowetanLIVE reported that the JSC, tasked with recommending judicial appointments, has resolved to advise Ramaphosa that Maya is suitable for the role.

Maya outlined the immense workload and infrastructural inadequacies plaguing the Constitutional Court.

"I have not worked as hard in my life as in the last 20 months."

She revealed that the court receives over 400 new applications for leave to appeal annually, yet only about 40 matters are set for hearing.

A court of just 11 judges manages this workload, although it can accommodate up to 15.

Tweaks in the work environment

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The Deputy Chief Justice acknowledged that the court’s heavy workload can be overwhelming, particularly for those in leadership roles who also handle administrative duties.

She suggested that operational tweaks could help streamline processes, allowing justices more time to manage their responsibilities effectively.

Maya advocated appointing additional judges to alleviate the burden on the current judiciary.

She proposed that justices work in panels of three or five instead of the entire bench deciding every case.

This adjustment, she argued, would help distribute the caseload more evenly and efficiently.

Deteriorating infrastructure is another issue.

Beyond the caseload, Maya highlighted the dire state of judicial infrastructure, citing poorly maintained buildings and inadequate safety measures.

She expressed concern over the security of judicial officers, recounting incidents where judges, including Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, have been victims of crime within court premises.

"Our courts are not safe," she stressed, noting the presence of a leaking roof and compromised security features in the apex court.

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Maya also underscored the importance of achieving the Supreme Court of Appeal's (SCA) complete independence and ensuring it is adequately resourced to deliver justice promptly.

She called for experienced judges and senior lawyers to assist with sifting through cases, which would help the judiciary manage its workload more effectively.

Maya is confident she'd make a great leader

Despite these challenges, Maya expressed her readiness to take on the chief justice role if appointed.

She pledged to uphold the judiciary's integrity and ensure it fulfils its constitutional mandate to protect and promote justice, particularly for society's most vulnerable members.

"I am a strong proponent of inclusive and collaborative leadership,"

As the JSC continues its interviews for the incoming Chief Justice process, the spotlight remains on Maya and her vision for a more efficient, secure, and independent judiciary in South Africa.

Justice Mandisa Maya was promoted to Deputy Chief Justice

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Briefly News reported that Ramaphosa promoted Justice Mandisa Maya to Deputy Chief, who began her new role on 1 September. She serves as a beacon of hope for young women.

According to the presidency, Ramaphosa made the appointment per Section 174(3) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

Ramaphosa said Maya would contribute to the ongoing transformation process of the judiciary.

Source: Briefly News

Authors:
Reitumetse Makwea avatar

Reitumetse Makwea (Editor) Reitumetse Makwea is a Current Affairs journalist at Briefly News. She has a National diploma, Advanced diploma and Post-graduate diploma in Journalism from the Tshwane University of Technology. She first worked as a student journalist and freelancer for Caxton's Record Noweto and later joined The Citizen News, where she worked for a little over 3 years covering politics, environmental news, business, education, and health. Reitumetse joined Briefly News in 2024. Email: reitumetse.makwea@briefly.co.za

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