Incoming chief justice Mandisa Maya sitting in front of a book shelf, dressed in legal robes

Mandisa Maya. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Path cleared for Mandisa Maya to become SA’s next chief justice

Deputy Chief Justice Mandisa Maya is all but certain to replace Raymond Zondo as head of the Constitutional Court.

Incoming chief justice Mandisa Maya sitting in front of a book shelf, dressed in legal robes

Mandisa Maya. Image: Wikimedia Commons

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has announced that it is backing Deputy Chief Justice Mandisa Maya to become South Africa’s next chief justice, when incumbent Raymond Zondo’s non-renewal term ends on 31 August 2024.

Maya was the sole candidate interviewed for the position on Tuesday by the JSC and is now set to become South Africa’s first woman chief justice.

Zondo out, Maya in

“Following the interview for chief justice of the Republic of South Africa, the JSC has resolved to advise the president [of South Africa), that Deputy Chief Justice M M L Maya is suitable for appointment to the position of chief justice,” said a statement released after the interview was concluded on Tuesday.

The JSC’s resolution comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in February this year that he was nominating Maya – who is also a former president of the Supreme Court of Appeal – to become chief justice.

“President Ramaphosa has invited the leaders of political parties represented in the National Assembly to make submissions on the suitability or otherwise of Deputy Chief Justice Maya to hold the office of Chief Justice,”a Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, said in February.

Second time lucky for Deputy Chief Justice Mandisa Maya?

This is not the first time that the JSC has recommended Maya for the chief justice position.

In June 2022, the commission recommended Maya for the position after hours of interviews in Sandton but Ramaphosa opted for Zondo as head of the Constitutional Court, and instead appointed Maya as deputy chief justice. Maya was president of the Supreme Court of Appeal at the time and the first woman to head the division in South Africa.

Ramaphosa announced in July 2022 that he was appointing her to the position of deputy chief justice in terms of Section 174(3) of the Constitution.

“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,” said Ramaphosa.