Judge Lebogang Modiba (President)
Judge Lebogang Modiba is a judge of the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg and Pretoria). Prior to her appointment as a judge in 2016, Modiba led an illustrious career as an attorney. Following her admission in 1997, Modiba worked for the Office of the State Attorney and later, the Women’s Legal Centre, focusing on human rights litigation. Her interest in women’s rights also came in her work with the Tshwaranang Legal Research and Advocacy Centre. In 2007, she founded the litigation law firm Modiba & Associates Inc. which she ran as director until her permanent appointment as a judge in 2016. She holds a B.Proc degree from Wits University, an LLM (Human Rights and Constitutional Practice) from University of Pretoria, and a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University (US), which he earned on an Edward Mason Fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School in 2005.
Judge Icantharuby ‘Kate’ Pillay (Durban)
Judge Icantharuby ‘Kate’ Pillay is a judge of the KwaZulu-Natal High Court (Durban and Pietermaritzburg). Prior to her appointment as a judge in 2004, she was a woman of many firsts: the first Indian woman prosecutor in Port Shepstone, the first Indian woman magistrate in Pinetown, and the first magistrate to be appointed as a judge in KZN. In her nearly twenty years on the bench, Pillay has written a number of ground-breaking judgments. She holds a B.Proc and LLB degrees from the University of Durban-Westville (now University of KwaZulu-Natal). Judge Pillay presides over Special Tribunal hearings from KwaZulu-Natal.
Judge Namhla Thina Siwendu (Johannesburg)
Judge Thina Siwendu is a judge of the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg and Pretoria). An attorney for 21 years, Siwendu’s illustrious career path included working as a researcher at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at Wits University, an articled clerk at progressive law firm Cheadle Thompson & Haysom, a member of the SA Law Reform Commission and an attorney in private practice. Siwendu was one of the first black women to successfully run her own commercial attorney’s firm from 1996 until 2012, when it merged with Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyer Inc – one of the ‘Big 5’ law firms in SA. Siwendu is a corporate governance specialist and has sat on the boards of major companies, including holding a research fellowship at the University Stellenbosch Business School. She holds B.Soc.Sci (Honours)(Social Work) degree from the University of Cape Town and an LLB from University of Natal (now UKZN).
Judge Johannes Eksteen (Port Elizabeth)
Judge Johannes Eksteen is a judge of the Eastern Cape High Court (Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown), and has been since 2010. Prior his appointment as a judge, Eksteen led an illustrious career as an advocate, including as senior counsel (silk), for twenty-five years. He was chairperson of the Eastern Cape Bar, and later as chairperson of the General Council of the Bar of SA. Since 2015, Eksteen has held several acting stints at the Supreme Court of Appeal, where he has written some seminal judgments. He graduated with BA and LLB degrees from Stellenbosch University.
Judge Somaganthie ‘Soma’ Naidoo (Free State)
Judge Soma Naidoo is a judge of the Free State Division of the High Court (Bloemfontein) with an over 40-year career in law. Naidoo started her legal career in 1980 as a candidate attorney before becoming an attorney and partner at various law firms in Durban. In 1985, she joined the Small Business Development Corporation as a corporate legal advisor before going back to private legal practice in 1988, but this time with her own practice: Soma Naidoo Attorneys Inc. She later spent 6 years as a criminal prosecutor from 1992. Prior to her permanent appointment as a judge in 2014, Naidoo had 15 years’ judicial experience as a magistrate in the Durban District Magistrates Court from 1998, where she dealt ith a variety of criminal and later civil cases. During this time, she also served in a leadership capacity as the deputy head of office, in charge of both the criminal and family divisions of the court. Naidoo has also served as Acting Deputy Judge President of the Free State High Court on four separate occasions between 2018 and 2020. Naidoo holds BA LLB degrees from the former University of Durban-Westville (now University of KwaZulu-Natal) and is also a member of the SA chapter of the International Association of Women Judges.
Judge Johannes Dauffe (Free State)
Judge Johannes Daffue is a judge of the Free State Division of the High Court (Bloemfontein), with an over 45-year career in law. Daffue started his legal career in 1977 as a candidate attorney, and later attorney and partner at various law firms in Bloemfontein. He was called to the Free State Bar in 1989, and spent the next 20 years in private practice as a advocatee in varios courts, which culminated in the president awarding him senior counsel (or ‘silk’) status in 2009. Daffue was permanently appointed as a Free State High Court judge in 2012, and has acted as Deputy Judge President over 4 terms between 2018 and 2020. He has also served on the Lesotho Court Martial Appeal Court since 2016. Daffue holds a BProc degree from the University of the Free State, an LLB and an LLM from UNISA, and an MBA from Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College in the United Kingdom. Unusual among his male counterparts, Judge Daffue has been, since 2018, a member of the South African Chapter of the International Association of Women Judges.