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Jody Kollapen excited, honoured to be sworn in as judge at Constitutional Court

Judge Jody Kollapen has been sworn in as a ConCourt judge. Picture: Supplied

Judge Jody Kollapen has been sworn in as a ConCourt judge. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 7, 2022


Pretoria - Former Gauteng High Court Judge Jody Kollapen, one of the two judges appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to the Constitutional Court, has been officially sworn in as a judge of the Apex Court.

The ceremony was conducted by Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo at Constitutional Hill.

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Ramaphosa announced late last month that both Judges Kollapen and Steven Mathopo were appointed to the Constitutional Court, after these posts were vacant for months.

Although Judge Kollapen’s term is effective from January 1, the first term of the highest court only gets under way on February 1.

Judge Kollapen yesterday told the Pretoria News that he was excited about his appointment and very honoured to serve on the Bench of the Constitutional Court.

Judge Jody Kollapen and his family at the Constitutional Court. Picture: Supplied

“It is a privilege to have been appointed to this court and wonderful to serve one’s country in this capacity,” the judge said.

The 64-year-old judge lives in Claudius, west of Pretoria and the city has been his home since birth.

He lived in Marabastad in the city centre for the first 12 years of his life and he was born at the Holy Cross Health Care Centre in Lady Selborne, which is now a home for the aged.

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He served as a judge of the Gauteng Division from 2010. Judge Kollapen has been hailed over the years by his colleagues as a first-class jurist and passionate fighter for human rights.

He is a former head of the South African Human Rights Commission and he served as the national director of Lawyers for Human rights (LHR) between 1992 and 1994.

Wayne Ncube, the present national director of LHR, said as an organisation they were very excited about the appointment of Judge Kollapen, as well as that of Judge Mathopo.

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He said as an organisation they were very excited about the quality of the appointments.

Regarding Judge Kollapen, he said the judge was someone who had shown a clear commitment to access to justice, protecting the constitution and the rule of law over a long and distinguished career.

“He is one of our most renowned former directors and his dedication towards constitutional reform is well documented.

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“Having led the organisation’s work with the human rights commission and his work on prisoner rights issues, he's always been on the right side of history, even at times when it was not convenient to do so and sometimes dangerous to do so.”

Ncube said Judge Kollapen was a very capable and experienced judge who has delivered some noteworthy judgments.

“We cannot wait to see the work he will do at the constitutional court. I think the judiciary and the country are richer for this appointment.”

Judge Kollapen has delivered several landmark judgments and often had a fatherly word for those appearing before him.

He once ordered a father to return to his teenage daughter her beloved horse he had removed it from its stable as punishment for her.

On another occasion, he told warring factions of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church to work together.

In an earlier statement, the Presidency said: “Judges Kollapen and Mathopo have illustrious careers in the legal profession and the judiciary.”

Their appointments followed interviews conducted by the Judicial Service Commission in October.

Following those interviews, Ramaphosa received the names of shortlisted candidates, which included these two judges.

Pretoria News