SA is on the brink of welcoming a female leader, Mandisa Maya, as judicial chief. When a woman ascends to the helm of the country’s judiciary, it will be a breakthrough. Despite the statutory imperative to guarantee the bench reflects the country’s broad racial and gender makeup, SA has never before boasted a woman chief justice. That may be about to change, but the process which brought SA to this critical juncture has been an abomination, to put it politely.      

Last week, Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) president Maya secured the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) stamp of approval for appointment as chief justice. The recommendation was apparently “unanimous”, with 22 commissioners viewing Maya as the least “political” of the four runners. Unlike others, Maya did not have to answer whether she was “for” the president and “against” his predecessor, since the question was never posed. ..

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