Western Cape Division

The Western Cape Division of the High Court of South Africa (previously named the Cape Provincial Division and the Western Cape High Court, and commonly known as the Cape High Court) is a superior court of law with general jurisdiction over the Western Cape province of South Africa. The division, which sits at Cape Town, consists of 31 judges led by Judge President John Hlophe.

Western Cape Division of the High Court of South Africa
Established1 January 1828 (Supreme Court of the Cape Colony)
LocationCape Town
Coordinates33°55′30″S 18°25′4″E
Composition methodPresidential appointment on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission
Authorized byChp. 8 of the Constitution; Superior Courts Act, 2013
Appeals toSupreme Court of Appeal or Constitutional Court
Number of positions31
Judge President
CurrentlyJohn Hlophe


The origins of the Western Cape Division lie in the Supreme Court of the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope, which was established on 1 January 1828[1] as the highest court of the Cape Colony. It was created by the First Charter of Justice, letters patent issued by George IV on 24 August 1827.[2] Upon the creation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, the Supreme Court of the Cape Colony was transformed by the South Africa Act 1909 into the Cape of Good Hope Provincial Division of the new Supreme Court of South Africa.

Originally the Cape Division had jurisdiction over the whole of the Cape Province, although concurrently with the Eastern Cape (Grahamstown) and Griqualand West (Kimberley) Local Divisions in their areas of jurisdiction. However, in 1957 the Eastern Cape division was elevated to the status of a provincial division, and in 1969 the Griqualand West division was similarly elevated, becoming the Northern Cape Division.[3] Upon elevation these divisions became independent from the Cape Division.

When the final Constitution of South Africa came into force in 1997, the Cape of Good Hope Division of the Supreme Court became a High Court. In 2003, in terms of the Interim Rationalisation of Jurisdiction of High Courts Act, 2001, the area of jurisdiction of the Cape High Court was modified to coincide with the boundaries of the Western Cape province.[4] The Renaming of High Courts Act, 2008 renamed it to the "Western Cape High Court, Cape Town".[5] In 2013, in the restructuring brought about by the Superior Courts Act, it became the Western Cape Division of the High Court of South Africa.


The Western Cape Division has a complement of 31 judges. Judges are addressed as "the Honourable Justice", or just "My Lord" or "My Lady". As of 2012 the judges are:[6]

  • John Hlophe (Judge President)
  • Jeanette Traverso (Deputy JP)
  • Rosheni Allie
  • Elizabeth Baartman
  • Ashley Binns-Ward
  • André Blignault
  • Leonard Bozalek
  • Dennis Davis
  • Siraj Desai
  • Daniel Dlodlo
  • Nathan Erasmus
  • Chantal Fortuin
  • Burton Fourie
  • Patric Gamble
  • Patricia Goliath
  • Barend Griesel
  • Robert Henney
  • Andre le Grange
  • Willem Louw
  • Shenaaz Meer
  • Tandazwa Ndita
  • Vincent Saldanha
  • Monde Samela
  • Elize Steyn
  • Anton Veldhuizen
  • Basheer Waglay
  • James Yekiso
  • Dumisani Zondi

There are currently five vacant seats on the Bench.


The rural districts of the Western Cape, outside of the Cape Town metropolitan area, are divided into circuits. Judges of the division travel the circuits at least twice a year.[7]


  1. Khan, F. W.; Heunis, T. L. (2003). "Chapter 1: The historical development of the Supreme Court of South Africa" (PDF). A review of the administrative recess system in the High Court. Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. p. 3.
  2. Zimmermann, Reinhard; Visser, D. P. (1996). Southern cross: civil law and common law in South Africa. Oxford University Press. p. 146. ISBN 0-19-826087-3.
  3. Zimmermann, Reinhard; Visser, D. P. (1996). Southern cross: civil law and common law in South Africa. Oxford University Press. p. 119. ISBN 0-19-826087-3.
  4. "Alteration of area of jurisdiction for which High Court has been established." Government Notice No. 937 of 2003. Government Gazette No. 25141, 27 June 2003.
  5. Renaming of High Courts Act, 2008. Act No. 30 of 2008. Government Gazette No. 31636, 24 November 2008.
  6. "Western Cape High Court, Cape Town". Judges by Court. Juta Law. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  7. Erasmus, H J; Van Loggerenberg, D E; Farlam, P B J (1994). Superior Court Practice. Juta. ISBN 978-0-7021-3011-3.
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