Emeritus Justice Sisi Khampepe

Emeritus Justice Sisi Khampepe is the Chancellor of the University of Pretoria and a retired Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, where she served from 2009 – 2021.

Justice Khampepe’s judicial career started with her appointment as a Judge of the Gauteng Division of the High Court in December 2000. She later served as Acting Deputy Judge President of the Labour Appeals Court and Labour Court. In October 2009, she was appointed to South Africa’s apex court, the Constitutional Court, where she served for twelve years, twice as the Acting Deputy Chief Justice.

Justice Khampepe obtained her B Proc from the University of Zululand in 1980. She obtained her LLM degree at Harvard Law School, Massachusetts, USA in 1982.

She began her legal career as a legal advisor in the Industrial Aid Society, where she participated in a vacation employment programme from 1979 to 1980. Between the years 1981 and 1983, she served as a fellow in the Legal Resources Centre.

In 1983 she joined Bowman Gilfillan Attorneys as a candidate attorney. After being admitted as an attorney in 1985, she established her own law firm, practicing under the name SV Khampepe Attorneys. Her law firm was especially renowned for defending the rights of workers against unjust laws and unfair employment practices. She also represented other human rights bodies such as hawkers, civic and black consumer unions.

In 1995 she was appointed by former President Mandela as a TRC Commissioner and in the following year she was a member of the TRC’s Amnesty Committee. She was then employed by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development as Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions, a post she held from September 1998 to December 1999.

In October 2000, she was appointed as a Judge in the High Court (TPD) and in the Labour Appeals Court in November 2007.

In 2004, was appointed by former President Thabo Mbeki to oversee the elections in Zimbabwe.

In the period April 2005 to February 2006, she was appointed by former President Mbeki to chair what became the Khampepe Commission, a commission of inquiry into the mandate and location of the Directorate of Special Operations, also known as the Scorpions.

In February 2006, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Hert Hon Donald C McKinnon, seconded her as a member of the Commonwealth Observer Group to the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in Uganda.

She was Vice-Chairperson of the National Council of Correctional Services from 2005 to April 2010.

In October 2009 she was appointed as a Judge to the Constitutional Court.

Justice Khampepe has been involved in numerous legal and community organisations including as a member of the Black Lawyers Association, Vice-Chairperson of Women’s Desk on Children and Women Abuse, member of the J G Strydom (Helen Joseph) Hospital Board of Governors and as a donor to Sparrow Rainbow Village (AIDS Hospice).

She was born on 8 January 1957 in Soweto. She is married with two children.

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