Justice Sisi Sibongile Virginia Khampepe

Date of Birth

8 January 1957


BProc (1980) (University of Zululand), LLM (1982) (Harvard Law School)

History at the Court:

Appointed: 12 October 2009

Retired: 13 October 2021

Brief biography

Justice Khampepe began her legal career as a legal advisor in the Industrial Aid Society, where she undertook vacation employment from 1979 to 1980. During this period she was exposed to the dishonourable employment conditions of black workers. Between the years 1981 and 1983, she served as a fellow in the Legal Resources Centre.

In 1983 she joined Bowman Gilfillan as a candidate attorney. After being admitted as an attorney in 1985 she established her own law firm, practising 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 several human rights bodies and unions affiliated to both NACTU and Cosatu. She was also the national legal advisor of SACAWU and the administrator of union funds in FIET and ICFTU.

In 1995 she was appointed by former President Mandela as a commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (“TRC”) and, in the following year, she acted as 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 December 2000, Justice Khampepe was appointed as a judge in the Transvaal Provincial Division of the High Court (now the North Gauteng High Court), and she was appointed as a judge in the Labour Appeals Court in 2007.

During the period April 2005 to February 2006, she was appointed by former President Mbeki to chair the Commission of Enquiry into the Mandate and Location of the Directorate of Special Operations (also known as the Khampepe Commission).

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

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 until April 2010.

She is has been a member of several legal and community organisations, including the International Law Society (Harvard Law School), the South African Legal Education Programme and the Employment Advisory Centre.

Selection of Judgments written