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About us


Shining the light on the magistracy

Magistrates Matter is an independent civil society platform dedicated to bringing transparency to the South African magistracy (the lower court judiciary). It forms part of the Judges Matter project of the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit at the University of Cape Town. The objective of Magistrates Matter  is to raise public awareness of the magistracy through applied research, independent monitoring and public advocacy on issues such as the appointment and promotion of magistrates, the discipline of magistrates for acts of misconduct, and the judicial governance structures of the Magistracy.


Alison Tilley

Alison Tilley is an attorney and the co-ordinator of Judges Matter, of which Magistrate Matter is a part. Judges Matter aims to improve civil society scrutiny of the South African Judiciary through monitoring the appointment, governance and discipline of judges and magistrates.

She has litigated on access to information and whistle-blowing issues in a number of High Court matters, the Labour Court, and the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court of Appeal.

Her publications include “The Right to Know, The Right to Live”, edited by Richard Calland and herself, and she contributes to the Daily Maverick. She works on issues surrounding gender based violence, and particularly the roll out of sexual offences courts with the Rape Survivor Justice Campaign.

Zikhona Ndlebe

Zikhona Ndlebe is a research and advocacy officer at Judges Matter, of which Magistrates Matter is a part.

Zikhona holds an LLB degree from the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and is currently studying towards an LLM specialising in Labour Law at the University of Cape Town (UCT). She is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa with a High Court Right of Appearance. Subsequent to being admitted as an attorney she practiced as an attorney at one of the prestigious law firms in Cape Town and specialised in Labour and Employment Law. She has represented clients at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and at the various Bargaining Councils. She has appeared at the Labour Court and has been involved in court cases up to the Labour Appeal Court.

Mbekezeli Benjamin

Mbekezeli Benjamin is a research and advocacy officer at Judges Matter, of which Magistrates Matter is a part.

Mbekezeli has litigated on issues relating to the right to education, the right to housing, and the right to protest for activists. He has been involved in cases that have come before courts at all levels of the court system, from the Magistrates Courts, up to and including the Constitutional Court. He has also made submissions at international bodies, including UN treaty bodies. He was recently selected as the Global Practitioner-in-Residence at Stanford Law School for the Spring Quarter 2019.

He holds an LLB from Wits University and is currently reading for an LLM at the University of Cape Town.


Magistrates Matter is an independent entity, funded through grants provided by philanthropic foundations. We are grateful to the following sponsors for their support:


Email: info@magistratesmatter.co.za

Twitter: @Mag_Matter

Facebook: @MagistratesMatterZA

ADDRESS: Room 7.05, Level 7

Wilfred and Jules Kramer Law Building,

Middle Campus, UCT, Cape Town


Magistrates Matter is not affiliated with any government department or organ of state. For any queries relating to the magistracy directly, you can contact the Secretary of the Magistrates Commission, Mr Mahomed Dawood (MaDawood@justice.gov.za) and for appointments, Ms Nicollette van Zyl (NvanZyl@justice.gov.za) .

Magistrates Matter does not provide legal advice. If you need legal advice, please consult a legal practitioner.