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By Marizka Coetzer


Brigitte Mabandla honoured for empowering women in judiciary

Deputy Chief Justice Mandisa Maya praised Brigitte Mabandla for her distinguished service and commitment to gender equality in the judiciary.

Former justice minister Brigitte Mabandla, 75, has been honoured for paving the way for women to follow in her footsteps.

Her contribution to the transformation of the legal profession and the empowerment of women in the judiciary was also lauded.

Beacons to transformation

During the renaming of the Justice College in Pretoria this week, Deputy Chief Justice Mandisa Maya said Mabandla stood out as one of the beacons of transformation for “strengthening our democracy and empowering women”.

Maya praised Mabandla for her contribution to democracy as the first woman minister of justice in a democratic South Africa.

“She served in this position with the utmost distinction and worked tirelessly to reform the justice system, ensuring that it was more accessible, transparent and ethical,” she said.

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“Her leadership was characterised by her unwavering commitment to justice and equality and the upliftment of women in the judiciary through the institutionalisation of education and training opportunities.”

Mabandla advanced the representation of women in judiciary

Maya said Mabandla used her position as the justice minister to advance the representation of women in the judiciary and the justice system as a whole.

“She was a champion for gender equality and women empowerment throughout her career,” she said.

“She has been involved in various initiatives aimed at advancing the rise of women, which included her active membership in the ANC Women’s League and Women’s National Coalition, as well as founding and coordination research projects on women’s and children’s rights and Community Law Centre at the University of the Western Cape.”

Maya said Mabandla’s relationship with the college as the former minister was one of profound influence and inspiration because she recognised the importance of continuous legal education and professional development.

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Under her leadership, the college expanded its programmes and embraced new ways to ensure South African legal professionals would not only well versed in the law, but also be sensitised to the social context in which they operated.

Her vision was to open the institution to enjoy boundless academic freedom and enhance services to government departments and institutions.

Maya said under Mabandla’s leadership, the college transformed from limited training to other sectors, including the training of military judges.

“Her vision was one of excellence and inclusivity where legal education was accessible to all regardless of background or circumstance,” she said.

Mabandla pleased with evolution of justice college

Mabandla said she was pleased with the evolution of the justice college since it was established.

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“It is revolving into a dynamic robust institution for the justice sector,” she said.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola cut the ribbon to open the college and unveiled the plaque alongside Mabandla.

“The college will further cultivate an existing generation of prosecutors by ensuring they are kept up to date with the latest developments,” he said.

“Similarly, the Cyberforensic Academy will focus on the intersection of law and technology, equipping learners with the knowledge and expertise needed to navigate complex issues such as cybercrime, digital forensics, financial crime investigations, and beneficial ownership.”

Lamola said the academy will help address emerging cybercrime-related challenges in an increasingly interconnected world with the establishment of a computer lab, language lab, cyber lab and moot court.

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