The judiciary in Lesotho and South Africa has been shaken by the death of colleagues as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Both Judge Patrick Jaji of SA’s Eastern Cape bench, and Judge Lisebo Chaka-Makhooane of Lesotho’s commercial court, had been confirmed as having contracted the virus, and died of associated complications.
Two judges have fallen victim to Covid-19, shocking their colleagues on the bench as well as members of the legal profession.
Judge Patrick Jaji, 53, of South Africa, a student activist in his younger days, died in hospital from complications resulting from Covid-19. The Judge President of his division, Selby Mbenenge, said that the effects of the pandemic had now reached ‘the doorstep of the judiciary’.
Judge Jaji had a B Proc and LLB degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and had obtained an MSc in transport and maritime management from Antwerp University in Belgium.
He was a former council member of the Law Society of SA and had held the post of secretary general of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers.
And in Lesotho, the bench lost commercial court specialist Judge Lisebo Chaka-Makhooane, 63. She was appointed to the high court in 2013, to be part of Lesotho’s first commercial court, and had lectured part-time at the National University of Lesotho's Institute of Extra Mural Studies
Paying tribute to her colleague, Acting Chief Justice Maseforo Mahase said that under Judge Chaka-Makhooane, ‘the Commercial Court division became exemplary and restored the confidence of the business community as well as that of investors, in the Judiciary.’
Besides her judicial duties, Judge Chaka-Makhooane had also authored and co-authored several books, including
- Regional Conflict Management and Resolution: some reflections on the role and effectiveness of the AU in conflict resolution
- In Search of Justice; Where Do Women in Lesotho Go?
- Sexual Violence in Lesotho; The Realities of Justice for Women
- Administration of Juvenile Justice