Siyanda Ndlovu
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
10 Mar 2022
7:11 pm

What you need to know about Raymond Zondo, SA’s new Chief Justice

Siyanda Ndlovu

He is one of the most prolific authors of ConCourt judgments, having written 57 judgments since he first joined the court in 2012.

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Photo: Gallo Images/Veli Nhlapo

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday appointed Raymond Zondo South Africa’s Chief Justice, despite recommendations for Supreme Court of Appeal President Mandisa Maya by the Judicial Service Commission.

Zondo, who hails from Ixopo, KwaZulu-Natal, has been acting Chief Justice since July 2021.

He is one of the most prolific authors of Constitutional Court judgments, having written 57 judgments since he first joined the court in 2012.

UPDATE: ConCourt dismisses rescission application: Zuma 0, Zondo 2

Born on 4 May 1960, according to his ConCourt profile, he served part of his articles under the late Victoria Mxenge in Durban.

After Mxenge’s assassination by apartheid agents, Zondo ceded his articles of clerkship to Mthembu & Partners and later to Chennels Alberton Attorneys.

In 1991 and 1992, Zondo served on two committees of the Commission of Inquiry Regarding the Prevention of Public Violence and Intimidation (also known as the Goldstone Commission) which investigated violence in South Africa during the early 1990s.

Zondo served as Judge President of the Labour Court and the Labour Appeal Court for many years, putting him in a favourable position on leadership experience.

He has become a household name after chairing the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector including Organs of State, known as the Zondo commission.

He has also earned a place in the history books as the man who put former president Jacob Zuma behind bars for contempt of court after Zuma refused to appear before the commission.

He also penned the Constitutional Court’s 2018 ruling in Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development and Others v Prince, decriminalising the use of dagga among many others.

Here is a brief summary of South Africa’s new Chief Justice:

  • Zondo was first appointed as a judge of the Labour Court in 1997 and was Judge President of the Labour and Labour Appeals courts between 2000 and 2010.
  • He has been a judge of the Constitutional Court since 2012 and was appointed as Deputy Chief Justice in 2017.
  • He holds a BJuris degree from the University of Zululand and obtained his LLB from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
  • He also holds an LLM (cum laude) from the University of South Africa and another with a specialisation in commercial law.