The Supreme Court of Appeal’s current president, Justice Mandisa Muriel Lindelwa Maya, has been appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to the position of Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa. Her appointment to the highest court in the land will take effect on 1 September 2022. The president made this appointment in accordance with Section 174(3) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA APPOINTS JUDGE MAYA TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT
President @CyrilRamaphosa has appointed Madam Justice Mandisa Muriel Lindelwa Maya, current President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, as Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa with effect from 1 September 2022. pic.twitter.com/9M4KtgVn2S
— Presidency | South Africa 🇿🇦 (@PresidencyZA) July 25, 2022
Justice Maya has had a long career as a judge for more than two decades. “She is the first woman to hold the positions of Deputy President and President of the Supreme Court of Appeal. Justice Maya will contribute to the ongoing transformation process of the judiciary. Her ascendency to the apex court will serve as a beacon of hope for scores of young women and make them believe that South Africa is a country of possibilities regardless of gender, social or economic circumstances,” Ramaphosa said.
Mandisa Maya was recommended for the position of Deputy Chief Justice by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). Ramaphosa’s consultation process over the Constitution included interviewing Maya, says JSC commissioner Doris Tshepe.
“The JSC interviewed her and has since deliberated on the matter. The JSC [has decided] to advise the president that [Justice] Maya is suitable for appointment as the Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa,” Tshepe said.
Due to her distinguished background, Maya has been referred to as a trailblazer in the court. The 58-year-old is known as “a woman of firsts” because, in addition to being one of the first female judges in the Eastern Cape High Court, she was also the first black woman to be appointed to the SCA, the first female deputy president of the court, and, most recently, the first female president of the SCA, a position she has held since 2017.
Judge Maya was elected as the first female president of the Supreme Court of Appeal in South Africa in 2016. After the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Appeal was formed in 1910 and is the nation’s second-highest court. She now ranks behind the chief justice and deputy chief justice as the third-highest ranking judge in South Africa.
Maya is presently the Chancellor of the University of Mpumalanga and has been awarded three honorary doctorates. Judges Raymond Zondo, Mbuyiseli Madlanga, Dunstan Mlambo, as well as Maya, participated in interviews for the position of Chief Justice earlier this year. At the time, the JSC identified Maya as the leading candidate for the job. But Ramaphosa appointed Raymond Zondo to be the new Chief Justice. Later, Maya received the president’s nomination for the position of Deputy Chief Justice.
Before joining the Women’s Legal Defense in Washington, DC, the trailblazing woman, who was born in a rural area of the Eastern Cape, served as a court translator and prosecutor. Maya worked as an investigator for the Independent Electoral Commission while the nation made the transition to democracy (IEC). Before being appointed as a judge on the high court, she worked as an advocate.
Then Maya proceeded through the appellate divisions and participated in ConCourt proceedings. As she stated in an interview back in 2017, she is a strong supporter of having more women on the bench.