Justice Christopher Nyaole Jafta

Date of Birth

1 January 1959


BIuris (1983), LLB (1987) (University of Transkei, now Walter Sisulu University)

History at the Court:

Appointed: 12 October 2009

Retired: 13 October 2021

Brief biography

Justice Jafta started his career as a court interpreter in 1983. He was appointed as a prosecutor of district court at the beginning of 1984 until December 1985 when his authority to prosecute was withdrawn by the Attorney-General at the instance of the security police. He was then demoted to the position of an administrative clerk. This occurred after he had rejected instructions from the security police on how he should conduct prosecutions in some cases and had declined to prosecute people who were arrested for walking in the streets at night in contravention of emergency regulations which were in operation at the time. He was also briefly detained and subjected to an intense interrogation by the security police.

In July 1986 he was appointed as a magistrate. In February 1988 he resigned and joined Mbuqe and Mbuqe, a firm of attorneys, as a candidate attorney. In August 1988 he resigned to join the University of Transkei as a lecturer. There he taught commercial law and constitutional law. In 1992 he completed his pupillage at the Johannesburg Bar.

Justice Jafta commenced practice as an advocate in Mthatha in January 1993. His practice focused mainly on labour and constitutional matters.

In 1997, Justice Jafta was appointed as an acting judge of the Transkei Division of the High Court for a period of four months.  In January 1999 be became an acting judge of the same division until November when he was appointed on a permanent basis.

In June 2001 Justice Jafta became the acting Judge President of the Transkei Division until June 2003. In 2003 he was appointed as an acting judge at the Labour Appeal Court until June 2004. From June to October 2004, he was an acting judge at the Supreme Court of Appeal. In November 2004 he was appointed as a judge at the same court.

In December 2007 Jafta was appointed as an acting judge at the Constitutional Court until his permanent appointment in May 2008.

Selection of Judgments written