The JSC was established in terms of Section 178 of the Constitution, and its function is to select fit and proper persons for appointment as judges and to investigate complaints about judicial officers. It also advises government on any matters relating to the judiciary or to the administration of justice.
When appointments have to be made, the JSC publishes a notice giving details of the vacancies that exist and calls for nominations. It shortlists suitable candidates and invites them for interviews. Professional bodies and members of the public have the opportunity to comment prior to the interviews or to make representations concerning the candidates to the commission.
The interviews are conducted in public, after which the JSC deliberates and makes its decisions in private. Its recommendations are communicated to the president, who then makes the appointments.
In terms of the Constitution, the President, in consultation with the JSC, appoints the chief justice and the deputy chief justice, and the president and deputy President of the SCA.
The President appoints other judges on the advice of the JSC. In the case of the chief justice and the deputy chief justice, the leaders of parties represented in the National Assembly are also consulted.
(Source: South Africa Yearbook 2012/11, GCIS)
Complaints are lodged and dealt with by the Judicial Conduct Committee which is composed of the Chief Justice as Chairperson of the Committee, the Deputy Chief Justice and four other Judges.
Part III, sections 14 – 33 of the Judicial Service Commission Act, 1994 (Act 9 of 1994) as amended, give details on how complaints about judges may be lodged and dealt with.
"14 Lodging of complaints
(1) Any person may lodge a complaint about a judge with the Chairperson of the Committee.
(2) When a complaint is lodged with the Chairperson in terms of subsection (1), the Chairperson must deal with the complaint in accordance with section 15, 16 or 17, but in the event of a complaint falling within the parameters of section 15, the Chairperson may designate a Head of Court to deal with the complaint, unless the complaint is against the Head of Court.
(3) A complaint must be-
(a) based on one or more of the grounds referred to in subsection (4); and
(b) lodged by means of an affidavit or affirmed statement, specifying-
(i) the nature of the complaint; and
(ii) the facts on which the complaint is based.
(4) The grounds upon which any complaint against a judge may be lodged, are any one or more of the following:
(a) Incapacity giving rise to a judge's inability to perform the functions of judicial office in accordance with prevailing standards, or gross incompetence, or gross misconduct, as envisaged in section 177 (1) (a) of the Constitution;
(b) Any wilful or grossly negligent breach of the Code of Judicial Conduct referred to in section 12, including any failure to comply with any regulation referred to in section 13 (5);
(c) Accepting, holding or performing any office of profit or receiving any fees, emoluments or remuneration or allowances in contravention of section 11;
(d) Any wilful or grossly negligent failure to comply with any remedial step, contemplated in section 17 (8), imposed in terms of this Act;
(e) Any other wilful or grossly negligent conduct, other than conduct contemplated in paragraph (a) to (d) , that is incompatible with or unbecoming the holding of judicial office, including any conduct that is prejudicial to the independence, impartiality, dignity, accessibility, efficiency or effectiveness of the courts."
Judicial Service Commission Act: Code of Judicial Conduct [GG 35802, RG 9841, GoN 865, 18 October 2012]
The Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission
Mr Sello Chiloane
Tel: +27 (0)11 838 2010 / 2019
Fax: 086 619 0944
Private Bag X 1,
1 Hospital Street,
Office of the Chief Justice: Complaints Desk
Tel: +27 (0)11 838 2010
Fax: +27 (0)11 838 2023
The Complaints Desk
Office of the Chief Justice
Private Bag X10
14th floor Edura House,
41 Fox Street,