The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA (BCCSA) has announced that retired Constitutional Court judge, Justice Johan Froneman, has accepted the appointment as chairperson of the BCCSA's Appointment and Appeals Panels.
Justice Johan Froneman
The appointment of Justice Froneman is effective as of 9 July 2021, and is in line with amendments that have been made to the BCCSA’s founding documents. These amendments are aimed at strengthening governance and accountability and to provide for the Chairperson of the Appointment Panel to also Chair Appeal processes.
Justice Froneman’s illustrious 26-year judicial career included 11 years’ service on the Constitutional Court and was distinguished by his commitment to driving social justice through his work as a pioneer in South Africa’s constitutional jurisprudence.
Born and raised in the Eastern Cape, Justice Froneman obtained a BA degree from Stellenbosch University and an LLB degree from the University of South Africa. After completing his pupillage at the Pretoria Bar, he practised as an advocate in Grahamstown, becoming senior counsel in 1990. In 1994, he was appointed to the Bench as a judge of the Eastern Cape Division of the High Court of South Africa and subsequently as the Deputy Judge President of the Labour and Labour Appeal Courts. He later served for two terms in the Supreme Court of Appeal before being appointed as a justice of the Constitutional Court in 2009, retiring in May 2020.
Justice Froneman’s impact has also been felt well beyond his legal and judicial career, including, amongst others, his contribution as Professor Extraordinaire at Stellenbosch University and attending Harvard and Oxford Universities in a visiting capacity.
“Attracting the services of such a pre-eminent and respected judge as Justice Froneman is a considerable honour for the NAB and BCCSA,” said NAB Chairperson, Thabo Makenete. “His appointment underpins the commitment of the industry complaints body to maintaining the highest standards of broadcasting through the independent and impartial settlement and/or adjudication of complaints against a broadcaster.”
“The BCCSA welcomes the appointment of Justice Froneman and looks forward to benefit from, and share in his vast knowledge of constitutional matters,” commented BCCSA acting chairperson, Advocate Sunette Lötter. “The appointment of Justice Froneman underscores the crucial role the BCCSA fulfils in upholding and balancing constitutional values in a media landscape where change is the only constant.”
In his role as chairperson of the BCCSA Appointment Panel, Justice Froneman will preside over the appointment and governance oversight of the BCCSA Commissioners, Registrar and administrative staff. In this capacity, his immediate task will be to interview candidates for the role of commissioners, as the current incumbents’ terms of office end in December 2021, and to finalise the BCCSA Chair and Deputy Chair appointments.
As Chair of Appeals, Justice Froneman will preside over appeals from any party aggrieved by a decision of the BCCSA Tribunal with regard to a reported infringement of the BCCSA Code of Conduct by a broadcaster.