The Magistrate’s Commission is expected to interview 1,000 candidates for about 250 magistrate posts across South Africa.
The commission will interview about 190 candidates for more than 70 district magistrate vacancies in the Northern Cape (NC), North West (NW), and Western Cape (WC) provinces.
Running for three weeks, the interviews will commence on October 17 to November 3, taking place at the ANEW Capital Hotel in Pretoria.
This will be the first of five sessions where the Magistrate’s Commission will interview over 1,000 candidates for 250 district magistrate posts across the country.
In a statement, the Magistrate’s Commission said the outcome of the interviews was to find suitable candidates to represent the judiciary and become judicial officers in district courts from Cape Town to Kuruman, Vredendal to Ventersdorp, and several other areas.
"Candidates are drawn from experienced attorneys, advocates, and prosecutors and will be tested on their knowledge of criminal law, family law, civil law court procedures, ethics, and integrity," the commission said.
Due to the high number of applications, nine of its members will sit for over five sessions of three each to make crucial appointments at various district courts.
"The high number of vacancies is due to promotions, retirements, and transfers to new posts created in the last two years at the over 1,000 district magistrates courts across the country,” it said.
In the first three sessions, the members will cover the Northern Cape, North West, Western Cape, Limpopo, Free State and Gauteng.
In the remaining two sessions until February 2024, they will cover the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.
According to the commission, the appointment committee consists of a regional court president, two chief magistrates, a regional magistrate, an attorney, an advocate, a law professor, a member of parliament, and an expert in public administration nominated by the Minister of Justice.
A researcher at Judges Matter, a civil society watchdog that monitors the judiciary in SA, Zikhona Ndlebe, said magistrate’s courts were the coalface of justice in the country, adding that most South Africans will only experience courts through the magistrate's court.
"Whether they are victims of crime seeking justice, mothers seeking maintenance for their children, or small business owners needing to get back monies owed, they all need to be served by competent and caring judicial officers. It's vitally important that only the best people get appointed as magistrates," Ndlebe said.