President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday appointed Raymond Zondo as Chief Justice of South Africa, despite recommendations for Supreme Court President Mandisa Maya by the Judicial Service Commission.
Zondo, from Ixopo, KwaZulu-Natal, has been acting Chief Justice since July 2021.
He is one of the most prolific authors of Constitutional Court rulings, with 57 rulings since he first entered the court in 2012.
Born on May 4, 1960, according to his ConCourt profile, he served some of his articles under the late Victoria Mxenge in Durban.
After Mxenge’s murder by apartheid agents, Zondo handed over his internship articles to Mthembu & Partners and later to Chennel’s Alberton Attorneys.
In 1991 and 1992, Zondo served on two committees of the Commission of Inquiry into the Prevention of Public Violence and Harassment (also known as the Goldstone Commission) that investigated violence in South Africa in the early 1990s.
Zondo served as president of the Labor Court and the Labor Court for many years, putting him in a favorable position in terms of leadership experience.
He has become a household name after chairing the Commission of Inquiry into allegations of coup, corruption and fraud in the public sector, including state organs, known as the Zondo Commission.
He has also earned a place in the history books as the man who put former president Jacob Zuma behind bars for contempt of court after Zuma refused to appear before the committee.
He also wrote the 2018 Constitutional Court ruling in Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development and Others v Prince decriminalizing the use of dagga and many others.
Here is a brief summary of the new Chief Justice of South Africa:
- Zondo was first appointed as a judge of the Labor Court in 1997 and served as Judge President of the Labor Courts between 2000 and 2010.
- He has been a Judge of the Constitutional Court since 2012 and was appointed Deputy Chief Justice in 2017.
- He holds a BJuris degree from the University of Zululand and received his LLB from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
- He also holds an LLM (cum laude) from the University of South Africa and a specialization in commercial law.