UKZN’s Professor Nomthandazo Ntlama served as an acting judge of the Bisho High Court in the Eastern Cape in November and December last year.
During her tenure on the Bench, Ntlama - who grew up in the Eastern Cape - heard civil and criminal matters and dealt with case flow management, an experience she describes as an ‘eye opening one’.
‘I was fascinated by the silent rules and procedures of adjudication which I found very exciting. The high level of discipline a judge is required to exercise in the application of the law in promoting the integrity of the judicial process is indicative of the progress that has been made since the attainment of democracy,’ said Ntlama.
‘I was thrilled to preside over matters in court with the counsels arguing their cases before me. I enjoyed the role of getting points of clarity and ensuring that adherence to the values of the new dispensation were upheld.’
Ntlama’s first judgment: Ndlovu v State (CA&R14/2016) [20160 ZAECBHC involved a ‘stay- in nanny’ who kidnapped a three-year-old girl holding her for a month while she demanded a ransom. The case received wide media coverage and gave Ntlama a taste of justice in action.
‘This was exciting as it took me out of my enclave and expanded my abilities to apply the law in a concrete situation and to analyse evidence and apply the law to reach a fair and just decision,’ said Ntlama.
‘My background as an academic enriched my theoretical perspective of the law into a practical reality. I will always treasure the experience and now have more to offer my students.’