President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Judge Mahube Molemela as president of the Supreme Court of Appeals (SCA), his office confirmed on Friday.
The appointment, which was considered a formality after the endorsement of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) of his nomination will take effect on June 1, the presidency said.
Molemela will become the second woman to preside over the appeals court, after Vice President of the Supreme Court Mandisa Maya.
In her interview with the JSC, Molemela said that if she were appointed president, she would remain in office until her retirement, rather than seek promotion to the constitutional court.
“I, here and now, want to assure the nation that if I am appointed to that position, I will retire from that position.”
She said this was because she understood the need for continuity and stability in the SCA.
“I have realized that a lot of people believe in me and I am not going to let those people down. And if I am appointed to office, I will remain in office and will not make myself available to the constitutional court.”
Molemela has served on the bench for 15 years. She became the Free State’s chief justice in 2015, only the second woman to head a division, before joining the SCA in 2018.
She is widely regarded as a wise choice for appellate court president, and Judges Matter praises her leadership qualities and intellectual independence.
He has written a series of dissenting judgments that were upheld by the constitutional court. These included Morudi et al. v. NC Housing Services and Development Co et al.which concerned the rights of shareholders of a company in the Northern Cape who argued that they had been denied their right of access to the courts.
Molemela has acted in the constitutional court and served as a judge in the labor appeal court and the competition appeal court.
She was one of five judges nominated by the JSC for high court appointment in 2021, of which Ramaphosa ultimately named Justices Jody Kollapen and Rammaka Mathopo. She was nominated again in 2022, when the president appointed Judge Owen Rogers.