President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Madam Justice Mahube Betty Molemela as President of the Supreme Court of Appeal in a groundbreaking move. This appointment, effective from 1 June 2023, crowns Justice Molemela’s illustrious judicial career in South Africa’s legal system, spanning over 15 years.
A Trailblazer in Her Field
Justice Molemela’s legal career began in 2008 when she was appointed as a Judge of the Free State Division of the High Court. She then went on to serve in multiple roles, including Judge President of the Free State Division of the High Court for three years, Judge of the Labour and Labour Appeal Court, Acting Judge of the Competition Appeal Court, and Acting Judge of the Constitutional Court for two terms in 2015. Justice Molemela was the first woman to hold the position of Judge President of the Free State Division of the High Court.
Exceptional Education Background
Justice Molemela boasts an impressive educational background, including a B. Proc degree from the University of Fort Hare, LLB, LLM, and LLD (Honoris Causa) degrees from the University of Free State.
President Ramaphosa nominated Justice Molemela for the vacant position of President of the Supreme Court of Appeal on 26 January 2023. The nomination initiated the consultation required by the Constitution, and the JSC assessed the nominated candidate’s suitability for the position through public comments and a public interview.
A Resounding Show of Support
After conducting a public interview of Justice Molemela on 17 April 2023, the JSC expressed its overwhelming support for her candidacy. The Chief Justice of the JSC indicated that there had been no objections from the public or professional law bodies against Justice Molemela’s candidacy.
A Testament to Outstanding Legal Career
President Ramaphosa’s decision to appoint Justice Molemela is a testament to her outstanding legal career and signifies an important step in the ongoing transformation of key institutions of South Africa’s democracy, including the judiciary.
A Significant Milestone
Justice Molemela’s appointment as President of the Supreme Court of Appeal is a significant milestone in South African history. As an exceptional jurist, she is set to play a pivotal role in strengthening the country’s judicial system and ensuring justice for all South Africans.
An Inspiration for Future Generations
This historic achievement not only celebrates the accomplishments of Madam Justice Molemela but also serves as an inspiration for future generations of legal professionals, advocating for greater diversity and representation within the judiciary. In his statement, President Ramaphosa expressed his appreciation for Justice Molemela’s service to the judiciary and the legal profession and wished her success in her new role.