Judge Nobulawo Mbhele has been recommended to serve as deputy judge president of the Free State High Court.
Judge Nobulawo Mbhele has been recommended to serve as deputy judge president of the Free State High Court.

JSC gives young judge nod for Free State High Court leadership position

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Apr 15, 2021

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DESPITE concerns over her short stint as a judge, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has recommended Judge Nobulawo Mbhele to serve as deputy judge president of the Free State High Court.

The JSC interviewed three candidates for the position.

A fellow candidate, Judge Johannes Daffue had raised concerns that Mbhele had only been a judge for six years and may be too young for the role.

The JSC commissioners took some exception to Daffue's claims and, with Mbhele's nod, they seem to have decided to pick her over other candidates.

Mbhele has served as a judge since 2016. She has covered numerous rape cases. She also sat to hear a dispute between the Royal Family vs the Premier of the Eastern Cape, over a dispute to termination of tenure of the acting king of the AbaThembu nation.

Mbhele will serve alongside Free State Judge President Cagney Musi.

During her interview, Mbhele was asked how she would be able to lead senior judges in her division. She said from her previous work at Legal Aid, she was able to lead much older colleagues.

When asked about judicial independence, Mbhele said judges should not allow being "contaminated" by criticism over the judgments they issue.

SCA candidates

Earlier, the JSC announced five candidates to fill vacant positions at the Supreme Court of Appeal.

The following high court judges who serve in various divisions across the country have been shortlisted for possible appointment.

*Gauteng Judge Zeenat Carelse, Pretoria-based Judge Wendy Hughes, Eastern Cape Judge Nolwazi Penelope Mabindla-Boqwana, KZN Judge Trevor Richard Gorven, and Gauteng Judge Selewe Peter Mothle.

The JSC will now submit the names to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who will have to appoint the candidates.

POLITICAL BUREAU

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