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For the first time in SA’s history, a black woman judge is on the brink of becoming chief justice. This should be cause for celebration — not only for Supreme Court of Appeal president Mandisa Maya, but for the country and the judiciary too. But the process has been marred by controversy as a result of a chaotic Judicial Service Commission (JSC) process.

After a week of interviews with four candidates — Constitutional Court justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga, Maya, Gauteng judge president Dunstan Mlambo and acting chief justice Raymond Zondo — the JSC put Maya forward as its preferred choice to head SA’s judiciary...

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