Blog Post: JSC Interviews 34 Candidates for Judicial Positions
A sophisticated iteration of musical chairs last week saw 34 of some of SA’s most high-ranking judicial personnel take turns in the hot seat during a series of interviews for various senior positions conducted by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
The interviews were held at the Office of the Chief Justice in Midrand by a JSC panel including Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Advocate Tshililo Michael Masutha, President of the Supreme Court of Appeal Justice Mandisa Maya, politicians and lawyers.
Shortlisted candidates were interviewed for positions of Judge President of the Eastern Cape High Court, two Deputy Judge President vacancies, as well as positions on the Gauteng High Court and Western Cape High Court.
Candidates were subjected to an intense interview process with some lasting over three hours. Among concerns addressed by the prospective appointees were issues around case flow management.
The South African judicial system has been criticised for the slow pace at which justice is dispensed – particularly since the conclusion of some civil cases is taking up to a decade. This has resulted in a backlog in courts across the country, delaying the course of justice and often resulting in victim fatigue. The call for efficient case-flow management is central to a healthy and functional justice system.
Another issue raised was racial and gender transformation within the system – a concern also raised earlier in the year during the first sitting of interviews in April. Seemingly, the most satisfying response to this concern was presented by Judge Selby Mbenenge who shared his vision with the Commission and members of the public in attendance. Mbenenge explained that in his 33 years of service he has come to appreciate the challenges faced by women in legal practice. In light of these concerns, Mbenenge impressed upon the importance of equal opportunities for women.
Mbenenge was among the candidates vying for the position of Judge President of the Eastern Cape High Court and was subsequently nominated as the qualifying candidate.
The results of the interviews have been published on the JSC website.