Appointment of Madam Justice Leona Theron of the Supreme Court of Appeal as a Justice of the Constitutional Court

The President and Council of the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society welcomes the appointment of Supreme Court Appeal Judge Leona Theron as a Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa.

Notwithstanding her humble beginnings she persevered in her chosen profession with commitment, determination, energetic application and was soon regarded as a highly respected advocate. At the very young age of 33 Justice Theron was one of the youngest appointees to judicial office and was thereafter appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal.

In such office she further distinguished herself and built an enviable reputation and illuminating career respected both by her peers and the legal profession both as a practitioner and subsequently as a Judge. She assiduously applied the provisions of our noble Constitution in the belief that our survival, prosperity and greatness as a nation was dependent on our ability as a nation, through its institutions of governance, to give content to the values of the Constitution. These, inter alia, address the issues of dignity, equality and freedom as well as address historical and legacies issues of discrimination and socio-economic inequality.

In 2008 Theron handed down a seminal judgment in the KZN High Court when she ruled that women in customary marriages were, in effect, married in community of property and so accrued similar rights and benefits.

In Gumede (born Shange) v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others, Theron wrote that the “proprietary regime established by the codification of customary law, is, prima facie, discriminatory. It is discriminatory as only South African women are subjected by the law to such consequences. The discrimination is on two of the prohibited grounds listed in Section 9(3) of the Constitution, namely race and gender.”

Justice Theron, in her private life, is a deeply committed to her family and friends. In the past she has made time for an active engagement in the training of aspirant Judges; she is an accomplished pianist and violinist and also has a passion for poetry.

Her appointment is an inspired one and will be a further credit to the esteem in which the South Africa judiciary is held, especially for its independence.