01 July 2019 | Story Eloise Calitz | Photo Charl Devenish
Justice Molemela and Mr Nikile Ntsababa
Dr Mahube Molemela receives her honorary doctorate certificate from the Registrar, Mr Nikile Ntsababa.

Madam Justice Mahube Betty Molemela obtained her LLB and LLM degrees from the UFS, and a number of postgraduate diplomas from various institutions of higher learning. She also lectured on a part-time basis in the UFS Faculty of Law between 2001 and 2003, and actively supports the annual Kovsie Moot Court Competition.

Highlights of her achievements

Justice Molemela made history when she was appointed as the first female Judge President of the Free State Division of the High Court of South Africa. She is only the second female to be appointed in this capacity in South Africa. During her tenure as Judge President, the highest number of female candidates were invited to act as judges in the Free State Division of the High Court. In 2015, she was appointed for two terms as a judge of the highest court in the country, the Constitutional Court. In 2018, Justice Molemela was appointed to the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa. 

Community Involvement

Justice Molemela plays an active role in the community – from actively empowering farm workers and upcoming farmers through initiatives of the Free State Rural Development Association, to presentations and training on business enterprises. She also served as  chairperson of the Valuations Court and as provincial board member of Absa Bank. 

Her involvement in the legal profession and legal community includes serving as a councillor for the Free State Law Society and as board member of the Free State School for Legal Practice in the Law Society of South Africa. Justice Molemela also teaches Trial Advocacy under the auspices of the Legal Education Centre Trust. 

Awards and recognitions

In 2009, she received a recognition award from her alma mater, the Albert Moroka High School in Thaba Nchu. In 2015, she received a recognition award from the South African Chapter of the International Association of Women Judges. In 2016, she received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumnus Award and was appointed Chancellor of the Central University of Technology in the same year. In 2017, she received a Service Excellence Award from the Black Lawyers Association and a Transformation Award from the Black Conveyancers Association. In October 2018, CEO Global identified her as its 2018/19 finalist for the Most Influential Woman in Business and Government for the SADC region. 

“There will always be a need for judges because of social attrition,” says Justice Molemela. “I encourage Law students and young lawyers to consider this career path and to be intentional about their career choice. I think if you approach your career with the knowledge that you intend to be a judge, you will be in a better position to structure your career in a way that ensures that you obtain most of the skills that are needed to become a good judge.”

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