Four of the six candidates vying for two available Constitutional Court justice spots are women who have handed down important and ground-breaking judgments in their respective high courts.
Judges at the High Court in Pretoria Annali Basson and Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane, Western Cape Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath and Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Zukisa Tshiqi are competing with similarly astute male counterparts, Land Claims Court Judge Jody Kollapen and Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Stevan Majiedt.
The six have to convince the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) that they are suitable for a noble seat in the highest court in the land at interviews starting in Midrand today. They will be the first to face the commission’s selection panel.
The JSC will then put forward names to President Cyril Ramaphosa for his first appointments to the Constitutional Court.
Kathree-Setiloane became the first person from the Constitutional Court’s law research programme to be appointed to the judiciary when she joined the Gauteng bench in 2010 and acted at the Constitutional Court from July to December 2017.
Basson’s most notable case was the David vs Goliath case concerning Xolobeni in the Wild Coast in which she ruled that a right to mine could not be granted without the full and informed consent of the community. Goliath has heard some of the country’s most high-profile cases and she convicted artist Zwelethu Mthethwa of kicking and beating to death Nokuphila Kumalo, a sex worker, in 2013.
Tshiqi has ruled on some fascinating cases, including whether the arrest and prosecution of a gang who robbed truck drivers resting on the N3 highway was legal. This was because they had been nabbed by police officers with questions around them, including an undercover agent who had participated in some of the criminal acts.
She ruled that had the undercover agent not infiltrated the syndicate, there were possibilities that the crime spree would have probably continued.
The JSC will also interview Judge Xola Petse for the position of Deputy Judge President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, and nine candidates, including Judge Owen Rogers, Judge Clive Plasket and Judge Selewe Mothle for other vacancies in the Northern Cape High Court and the Labour Court and Labour Appeal Court.