The position became vacant following the appointment of then President of the SCA, Mandisa Maya, to the position of Deputy Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court last year.
The President said the appointment is in line with government’s transformation agenda.
“Justice Molemela’s appointment adds impetus to the continuing transformation of key institutions of our democracy, including the judiciary. Justice Molemela is an outstanding jurist who will play a critical role in entrenching justice for all South Africans,” President Ramaphosa said.
A statement by the Presidency explained that Molemela was appointed following consultations with the Judicial Service Commission and party leaders in the National Assembly.
“On 26 January 2023, the President nominated Madam Justice M B Molemela for the vacant position of President of the Supreme Court of Appeal and addressed a letter to the Judicial Service Commission, (JSC) initiating the consultation required in terms of Section 174(3) of the Constitution.
“The President requested the JSC to indicate its views on Justice Molemela's suitability for appointment as President of the Supreme Court of Appeal. The Commission invited public comment on the candidacy of Justice Molemela, and held a public interview to assess her suitability for the position on 17 April 2023.
“Following the interview, the Chairperson of the JSC and Chief Justice submitted to the President the Commission’s views on the suitability of Justice Molemela to occupy the position of President of the Supreme Court of Appeal.
“The Chief Justice indicated that there had been no objections from the public or professional law bodies against Justice Molemela's candidacy and that she had succeeded in her interview. Additionally, an overwhelming majority of the members of the JSC voted in support of Justice Molemela’s suitability,” the statement read.
Molemela was the Free State Division of the High Court’s first female Judge President and has had a career spanning some 15 years on the bench.
“During her 15 years on the Bench she has served as a Judge President of Free State Division of the High Court for a period of three years before her elevation to the Supreme Court of Appeal in 2018.
“She has also served as a 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. She holds a B. Proc degree (University of Fort Hare); LLB, LLM and LLD (Honoris Causa) (all three from the University of Free State),” the Presidency said.
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