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Thokozile Masipa, “The Most Famous Judge in the Country”, Interviews for the Top Spot in Cape Town

Behind the DoorBest White and Other Anxious DelusionsFollowing the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius last year, presiding judge Thokozile Masipa has been dubbed “the most famous judge in the country”.

The trial, which along with the criminal investigation was the subject of Behind the Door: The Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp Story by Mandy Wiener and Barry Bateman, was the first to be televised in South Africa and propelled Judge Masipa into the public eye.

Rebecca Davis, author of Best White and Other Anxious Delusions, has written an article for the Daily Maverick about Judge Masipa, who was interviewed for a judicial position in Cape Town by the Judicial Services Commission this week. In the article, Davis looks at the grueling process prospective judges undergo, and the issues of gender inequality in the judiciary.

Read the article:

Judge Masipa is unquestionably the highest-profile candidate being interviewed this week, as a result of her involvement in the Pistorius case. “I’m sure you are aware you are the most famous judge in the country,” Mogoeng told her, with Justice Minister Masutha later clarifying that Masipa was “one of the most famous judges in the world”.

This high profile seems to come at a cost, other commissioners suggested. ANC MP Mathole Motshekga asked if Masipa was worried about the “stigma” from the Pistorius case following her to the Limpopo judge president position. Here Mogoeng seemed to intervene on Masipa’s behalf, saying that he too had been appointed under an ignorant assumption: that he was “Zuma’s puppet”.

Masipa denied that she was “stigmatised” following the Pistorius judgment. “People were expecting a different outcome. They were just expressing frustration,” she said. “Perhaps I am too naïve.” She told Modise she was alive to the possibility that the appeal court might disagree with her judgment on the Pistorius matter.

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