Justice – J. Yekiso (2007- 2008)

The judge was born in Rouxville in the Free State and moved many times in his childhood, travelling the country whenever his father was transferred to a new position within the then SA Railways and Harbours. The judge finished his schooling in Fort Beaufort where distinctions earned in English and Xhosa showed a flair for translation.

He was the first African lawyer to open a practice in Cape Town. As an interpreter he saw lawyers in action and he started wondering whether he could perform the role. There were no African attorneys in the Cape at the time, but he was inspired by the partnership of Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo in Gauteng.

The struggle to achieve his dream was tough. Due to his political activities he was expelled from Fort Hare five weeks prior to writing his final law exams and banned from enrolling at another university.

The only way to continue was to re-enrol at Unisa, starting from scratch. Finally in 1978 he earned his treasured B. Proc.

He did his articles of clerkship in Cape Town and was admitted as an attorney in 1979.

During this time he furthered his studies and in 2000 was conferred a Masters degree in Constitutional Law from the University of the Western Cape.

In July 2002 he was appointed as an acting judge and three months later, with the winds of change blowing in South Africa, he was appointed permanently to the bench.

Justice Yekiso was appointed as the Inspecting Judge from 2007 to 2008.