Special commemorative sitting for retiring ConCourt judge

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NkabindeJustice Bess Nkabinde will be honoured by the Constitutional Court for her 12 years of service on Thursday.

Nkabinde, who was appointed as acting deputy chief justice last year, after Justice Dikgang Moseneke’s retirement, served as a justice for the prescribed 12 years.

She obtained her BProc degree at the University of Zululand in 1983, and an LLB from the University of North West in 1986.

She was appointed to the position in 2006.

Before that, she worked as a legal adviser to the Bophuthatswana government for four years, before becoming an advocate in 1988.

She worked at the North West Bar for 10 years before her first appointment as an acting judge in 1999.

In 2008, she and fellow Justice Chris Jafta were embroiled in a matter involving Cape Judge President John Hlophe in which they alleged he tried to influence their ruling in a corruption case against President Jacob Zuma and a French arms company.

News24 previously reported that the two lodged a complaint and said in a joint letter that they did not want to proceed with the matter.

In 2013, a Judicial Service Commission tribunal into Hlophe’s conduct was established. Nkabinde and Jafta, however, questioned its lawfulness.

Their counsel submitted that the tribunal had not been properly appointed, that its rules were invalid and that there was no complaint to investigate.

They then filed an application with the high court in Johannesburg, challenging the tribunal’s lawfulness.

In 2014, the application was dismissed and the tribunal was told it could continue.

Jafta and Nkabinde approached the Supreme Court of Appeal, which further delayed the tribunal. The SCA dismissed the case in March 2016.

Nkabinde and her husband have four children.

In Thursday’s special ceremonial session of the Constitutional Court to mark Nkabinde’s retirement, the Chief Justice and other justices, as well as representatives of the executive, Parliament and the legal profession will participate.

The Constitutional Court said the event was open to the public, but added that seating would be limited.