UFH confers Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree on SCA President - Justice Mandisa Maya

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During its Winter Graduation to be held on 21 June 2021, the University of Fort Hare will confer an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on Justice Mandisa Muriel Lindelwa Maya – South Africa’s first woman President of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

Vice-Chancellor Prof Sakhela Buhlungu said the honorary doctorate on Justice Maya is in recognition and celebration of her exceptional contribution to the country’s justice system.

“Justice Maya is an epitome of excellence. She is right at the apex of the justice system as a well-respected jurist who has achieved ultimate success. She is a champion in her own right and will bring greater credit to the university,” said the VC.

Born in Tsolo in the Eastern Cape, Justice Maya holds a  B.Proc  from the University of Transkei (now Walter Sisulu University), an LLB  from the University of Natal (now University of KwaZulu Natal) and an LLM Degree from Duke University in the USA.  She was also awarded two LLD honorary degrees by Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu universities in recognition of her contribution to the development of jurisprudence in South Africa as well as the empowerment of women in the legal profession and the judiciary.

She is a Fulbright; Georgetown University Law & Gender Program; and Commonwealth Foundation Fellow and is the recipient of the 2020 Duke University Law International Law Alumnus Award.

After teaching law at the former University of Transkei while also practising at the Transkei Society of Advocates, she became a judge and sat in various divisions of the High Court and the Labour Courts before her elevation to the SCA.

She became the first woman Deputy President of the SCA in 2015 and its first woman President in 2017. She has acted as a judge in the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the Supreme Court of Namibia and the Appeal Court of Lesotho.

Justice Maya promoted law reform as the Chairperson of the South African Law Reform Commission. She serves as a member of the following judicial structures:

  • South African Judicial Service Commission
  • South African Judicial Education Institute
  • Commonwealth Association of Law Reform Agencies
  • National Bar Examination Board and;
  • The Duke University Bolch Judicial Institute Leadership Council.

She is the President of the South African Chapter of the Women Judges Association and the Africa Region Director of the International Association of Women Judges. She also sits in a number of other quasi-judicial and academic organisations.