ONCE again the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has had to re-advertise for a position on SA’s highest court, only getting three nominations to fill a vacant post.

In recent years it has become more common than not for the JSC to either extend the closing date for nominations or re-advertise because there were simply not enough candidates to fulfil constitutional requirements leading to questions about why SA’s judges are not making themselves available for what is considered the pinnacle of any judicial career.

On Tuesday the JSC said it would re-advertise the post as there were only three candidates nominated "which is less than the threshold required by the provisions of section 174(4) of the Constitution".

The Constitution says the JSC must provide to the president a list of candidates — three more than the number of vacancies. The president then chooses from this list. Where there is one vacancy, as currently, the JSC would need to give the president a list of four.

In the last round of interviews last year, when Justice Nonkosi Mhlantla was appointed, the closing date was extended and even then the JSC was lucky to scrape together four candidates, with one of the applicants applying on the very last day. In the 2012 round of interviews, when Justice Raymond Zondo was appointed, the JSC had to re-advertise. In that round, there were again only four candidates.

The JSC announced the shortlisted candidates for other courts, including seven candidates for two vacancies on the Supreme Court of Appeal: Western Cape High Court Judge Elizabeth Baartman, KwaZulu-Natal High Court judges Trevor Gorven and Dhaya Pillay, Gauteng High Court judges Frans Legodi and Piet Meyer and Free State Judge Connie Mocumie and Christiaan van der Merwe.

The JSC is also hoping to appoint three deputy judges president — for the Western Cape High Court, the newly formed Limpopo High Court and the KwaZulu-Natal High Court.

In October last year, after a lengthy set of interviews, the JSC was unable to fill the KwaZulu-Natal deputy judge president post. This round there are three candidates, Judge Shyam Gyanda, Judge Mjabuliseni Madondo and Judge Bhekisisa Mnguni.

Candidates for the Western Cape deputy judge president are Judges Rosheni Allie, Judge Patricia Goliath and Judge Andre Le Grange. The shortlisted candidates for the Limpopo deputy post are Judge Frans Kgomo, Judge Fikile Mokgohloa and Judge Legodi Phatudi.