Laying down the (commercial) law
Last week’s Constitutional Court candidate interviews raised issues about whether a lack of commercial experience on the bench is a problem for the administration of justice
South Africans will soon know who will be the new guardians of the country’s constitution, when President Cyril Ramaphosa appoints two new justices to the bench of the apex court. The judicial appointments — Ramaphosa’s first as president — are crucial, given the 12-year term Constitutional Court justices serve and the role they play in developing the country’s jurisprudence. The vacancies on the bench were occasioned by the promotion of judge Raymond Zondo to deputy chief justice in March 2017, and the retirement of judge Bess Nkabinde in 2018. In interviews conducted by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) last week, six hopeful candidates — high court judges Annali Basson, Patricia Goliath, Jody Kollapen and Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane, and Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judges Stevan Majiedt and Zukisa Tshiqi — were grilled on a myriad of issues, including transformation of the bench and the space customary law holds in SA. A constant line of questioning from SCA judge Azhar Cacha...