Cachalia JA can be regarded as a leader in the transition to democracy in the 1980s and 1990s, and his current position as both judge of appeal and former acting constitutional court judge has meant that he has contributed (and continues to contribute) to the development of our country’s jurisprudence in a meaningful way.
In his youth, Cachalia JA was an anti-apartheid activist and involved himself as a founding member of the United Democratic Front, and in student movements at Wits. His involvement in freedom activities in the apartheid era landed him in detention several times, and he was banned in terms of the Internal Security Act between 1981 and 1983.
In the academic sphere, he has published a book and two articles, together with fellowship awards at Yale University and New York University in the US, as well as the Legal Resources Centre in South Africa. However, his academic contribution should not be seen in narrow research ‘output’ terms: his reported judgments are a testament to his active contribution to the discipline of law. The variety and complexity of the issues that he has adjudicated and written judgments on is nothing short of staggering.
By his appointment, the Faculty believes that both staff and students will greatly benefit from Cachalia JA’s extensive experience in fighting apartheid, his participation in the crafting of the new constitutional order, and his current position as a Judge of Appeal – dealing with the complex legal conundrums of present-day South Africa.