President Cyril Ramphosa has appointed Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo as the next Chief Justice of South Africa, effective April 1, 2022.
“The Chief Justice stands as the champion of the rights of all South Africans and bears a responsibility for ensuring equal access to justice,” the presidency said in a tweet.
“I have every confidence that Justice Zondo will acquit himself with distinction in this position.”
The president’s decision follows consultations with the Judicial Service Commission and party leaders in the National Assembly on four nominees for Chief Justice.
Judge Zondo was first appointed as Judge of the Labor Court in 1997 and served as Judge President of the Labor Court from 2000 to 2010.
He has been a Judge of the Constitutional Court since 2012 and was appointed Deputy Chief Justice in 2017.
Zondo defeated JSC-recommended candidate, SCA president, Judge Mandisa Maya, for the position.
Judge Maya was one of four senior judges shortlisted by President Cyril Ramaphosa for the highest judicial position.
“President Ramaphosa has accordingly indicated that, once the new Chief Justice takes office, he intends to nominate Judge Mandisa Maya for the position of Deputy Chief Justice. This appointment is subject to the process described in Article 174(3) of the Constitution,” the presidency said.
Maya has been described as a pioneer in the judiciary because of her impressive track record.
The 58-year-old is considered “a woman of firsts” for serving as one of the first female judges on the Eastern Cape Supreme Court, the first black woman to be appointed to the SCA, the first female vice president of the court, and later, the SCA’s first female president.
Maya has also received three honorary degrees and was recently appointed Chancellor of the University of Mpumalanga.