OVERVIEW OF THE MAGISTRATES INTERVIEWS 2022
In the 3 weeks between 23 May and 10 June the Magistrates Commission will sit to interview over 240 candidates shortlisted for various magistrates’ vacancies across the country.
These vacancies are primarily for magistrates in the regional courts, but also include vacancies for the Chief Magistrate of Cape Town, and posts at the SA Judicial Education Institute and within the Ethics Division of the Magistrates Commission.
The initial advert was issued in November 2021, while the shortlist was released on 13 April 2022. Public comments on candidates needed to be submitted by Friday, 6 May 2022.
This is the first time that the Magistrates Commission is sitting to interview candidates since 2020 (no interviews were held in 2021). It is also the first time that the Commission is sitting after the Magistrates Commission v Lawrence judgment, where the Supreme Court of Appeal declared the shortlisting and interview process of Appointments Committee of the Commission as unfair and unconstitutional.
Some of the vacancies to be filled are:
Regional Court President (Western Cape)
The role of the Regional Court President is to manage and control the administration of judice in the Regional Court of that province. The RCP still carries their judicial responsibilities and must adjudicate both civil and criminal cases in the regional court. As the leader of the regional courts in the province, the RCP is also responsible for efficient case flow management, and the training, guidance, and mentorship of all regional magistrates.
The Regional Court President is a permanent appointment and earns a remuneration package of R1.4 million per annum.
The vacancy for the Regional Court President of the Western Cape arose when Mr Mpophelele Bruce Langa was appointed as a judge in the Mpumalanga High Court from 1 January 2022.
Chief Magistrate (Cape Town)
The Chief Magistrate of Cape Town is the most senior judicial officer in the district courts in Administrative Region B (which includes parts of the Cape Metro and goes up the West Coast District, up to the border with the Northern Cape).
In this role, the Chief Magistrate is responsible for the management and control of the administration of justice in the district courts of the region.
The Chief Magistrate is primarily a judicial officer, and therefore must adjudicate criminal, civil and family law disputes. As head of the administrative region, they are responsible for efficient case flow management, quality assurance, and the training, guidance, and mentorship of all district magistrates.
A Chief Magistrate is a permanent position and earns a remuneration package of R1.3 million per annum.
The vacancy of Chief Magistrate of Cape Town arose when Mr Daniel Thulare was appointed a judge of the Western Cape High Court from 1 January 2022.
In the 2022 round, the Magistrates Commission will also interview candidates for 45 positions in the Regional Courts across all 9 provinces.
Regional Magistrates are judicial officers responsible for dealing with more complex civil cases with a value of between R400 000 and R1 million, including divorces, property disputes, and credit disputes. They also deal with serious criminal cases like rape, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, and even murder. Regional Magistrates may impose sentences up to life imprisonment.
A regional magistrate is a permanent position and earns a remuneration package of R1.3 million per annum.
In the 2022 round, the Magistrate Commission will also interview 4 posts for Judicial Educators. They are all the Senior Magistrate rank.
Judicial Educators are attached to the SA Judicial Education Institute and are responsible for planning, designing, and implementing the training curriculum for magistrates. This includes designing training materials but also monitoring the implementation of the judicial education, but also paying close attention to the trends and developments in judicial training.
As judicial educators are experienced magistrates in their own right, they earn a remuneration package at Senior Magistrate rank, which is about R1 million.
Ethics Division Magistrates
The Magistrates Commission is also looking to recruit three candidates who will form part of the Ethics Division of the Commission. They will also be at Senior Magistrate Rank.
Ethics Division Magistrates are responsible for investigating misconduct complaints against magistrates. These are complaints reports to the Magistrates Commission relating to maladministration, fraud, corruption, and other ethical breaches of the Magistrates Code of Conduct.
They are also responsible for leading evidence at the misconduct hearings against magistrates, in a similar way to prosecutors at criminal trials.
Ethics Division Magistrates may also conduct some judicial quality assurance duties, including providing training on ethics, conduct, the developments in the law affecting magistrates and their conduct. In this role, they may also identify trends or gaps in training.
As Ethics Division Magistrates are experienced magistrates in their own right, they earn a remuneration package at Senior Magistrate rank, which is about R1 million.
Justice Minister appoints magistrates
Following these interviews, the Appointments Committee sends a list of recommended candidates to the full Magistrates Commission for consideration. If satisfied, the Commission will send the list to the Minister of Justice to make the finial appointment.