Sonke Gender Justice Applauds Justice Mhlantla’s Appointment to the Constitutional Court Bench

Last week, President Zuma appointed previous Supreme Court of Appeal Judge, Nonkosi Zoliswa Mhlantla, to the Constitutional Court bench. She will formally assume her position on 1 December 2015.

Justice Mhlantla was selected for appointment after a gruelling interview process with the Judicial Service Commission during which she was up against three other stellar women candidates. Two of the four candidates, Judges Dhayanthie Pillay and Leona Theron had been nominated for the position by Sonke and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies.

Justice Mhlanthla comes with years of legal practice experience as an attorney and advocate and has served as a judicial officer on the Eastern Cape High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal since 2002. In 2012, she also acted on the Constitutional Court bench. She served as a Commissioner of the Small Claims Court, Chairperson of the Eastern Cape Gambling and Betting Board and a Trustee of the Human Rights Trust, Port Elizabeth. She was previously an executive member of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers.

She is one of only three women Justices serving on the Constitutional Court bench. Sonke views this appointment as a positive step to advancing gender transformation of the judiciary and legal sector particularly because Justice Mhlantla is filling a leadership position in the judiciary in the country’s highest court. Here, she will contribute to developing South African constitutional law which influences all other subject areas of the law.

Whilst women are still under-represented on the Constitutional Court bench, Sonke applauds Justice Mhlantla’s appointment. It not only increases gender diversity on the Constitutional Court bench but in the judiciary as a whole. Most importantly, she will offer diversity in judicial perspective which will impact on the judgments handed down by the court and which is crucial in ensuring the legitimacy of the court.

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