Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
The process of forming a professional association for South African judicial officers started in Johannesburg on 29 February 1996. The Chief Justice of South Africa, M.M. Corbett, delivered the keynote address during the opening ceremony. He stressed the importance of a strong and well maintained judicial system. The formation of JOASA took 3 days during which a draft constitution was ironed out by 100 South African judicial officers between 29 February 1996 and 2 March 1996. A steering committee of ten members was elected and took charge of interim affairs whilst those who attended carried the message of JOASA to their constituencies across South Africa.
Provincial meetings were held in early 1997 to set up regional structures and to nominate representatives who attended the first JOASA Annual General Conference in Pretoria on 31 January 1997. At this conference Chief Magistrates R.H. Peckham and T.J. Raulinga were respectively elected as President and Vice-President of JOASA; whereas magistrates D. v.d. Merwe and D. Spies were elected secretary and treasurer respectively. The Minister of Justice, Dr. A.M. Omar, attended this historic occasion and wished JOASA well. He called for a strong, independent, single and coherent judiciary.
He promised his department's support and quoted section 165(4) of the Constitution, 1996 in that regard. It reads:"Organs of the State, through legislative and other measures, must assist and protect the courts to ensure the independence, impartiality, dignity, accessibility and effectiveness of the courts".Since then, JOASA was led by the following as its Presidents: Mr. TJ Raulinga (now Judge of the High Court, Gaunteng North), Mr. A Le Grange (now Judge of the High Court, Western Cape), Mr. CJ Musi (now Judge of the High Court, Free State, Mr. T Maumela (now judge of the High Court, Gauteng North), Ms. J van Schalkwyk (Chief Magistrate, Kempton Park), Mr. D Dosio (Regional Court Magistrate, Soweto) and currently Mr. TV Ratshibvumo. Over the years, JOASA has overseen the transition of Magistrates from Civil Servants to become Public Office Bearers, a level befitting the judiciary; like other arms of the government: the executive and the legislature.