Raymond Zondo is the Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa and the presiding Judge of The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, popularly known as the Zondo Commission. Despite coming from a poor background, his passion for education drove him to seek a way to fund his education and take care of his mother and siblings.
After earning his first degree, he was privileged to work at a renowned law firm as a law clerk, where he started writing his articles. In the course of his over 20 years in the judiciary, he has contributed in several capacities in Labor law. He has held positions such as Judge of the Labour Court, Judge President of the Labour Court, and Justice of the Constitutional Court. And judging from the fact that he receives a salary of R2.6 million per annum, you can tell that he is a wealthy man.
Raymond Zondo Matriculated From St. Mary’s Seminary
Ray Zondo, as he is fondly called, was born and raised in KwaZulu Natal, where he was opportune to attend St Mary’s Seminary. Considering that he was from a poor home where his father was a laborer and did not support the family of 9 children, of which he was the third child, furthering his education after matriculating from St Mary was going to be an uphill task would have been difficult.
But, fortunately for him, he was awarded a bursary to study law at the University of Zululand. Leaving his mother and siblings with nobody to provide for them was a thing of worry for him. And so, to solve this problem, he approached a local businessman, Mr. Suleman Bux, who agreed to give his mother a loan in the form of a monthly voucher for groceries. This went on for three years until he finished his degree program, graduating with a B. Juris from the University of Zululand.
He Was Awarded A Scholarship To Complete His LLB at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal
On completing his B Juris, Ray Zondo got a job at Legal Resources Centre. After working at the Legal Resources Centre for a year, he was fortunate again to land a scholarship that saw him through to complete his LLB at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. His salary while working for one year is unknown. However, it may not have contributed to his current net worth as it was at the start-up phase of his life, and he still needed the scholarship to continue his education.
The South African Legal Luminary Has Three Master’s Degrees
The Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa, Raymond Zondo, is a man who is passionate about education. After completing his LLB, he went on to get three master’s degrees from the University of South Africa. He holds a master’s degree in Labor Law, Commercial Law, and Patent Law. Today, all his effort in adding to his law qualification has paid off.
He started his clerkship at Victoria Mxenge’s law firm, a human rights lawyer and a renowned apartheid activist. After she died in 1985, Zondo completed his clerkship articles at Chennels Alberton Attorneys and was admitted as an attorney in 1989.
He Was The First Chairperson Of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA)
While working as a part-time mediator and arbitrator, Raymond Zondo also worked as a partner at Mathe & Zondo, where he focused more on Labor law. The salary he earned from both his partnership and the part-time job has not been revealed. Between 1991 and 1992, Zondo worked as a member of the Goldstone Commission, a commission that investigated the political violence and intimidation faced by South Africans in the 1990s.
When apartheid came to an end, Zondo’s career had already started excelling, and among the black anti-apartheid fighters, he was already prominent for being a lawyer. As a result, he was a member of the Ministerial Task Team that came up with the Labor Relations Bill for post-apartheid South Africa.
In 1996, Ray Zondo was appointed as the first chairperson of the Governing Body of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA). He was honored to be chosen for this position, and at the same time, he knew a lot was involved in leading the commission seeing that it had been newly established. Although he must have been well paid for this role, his pay was not revealed to the public.
Zondo Was The Judge President of the Labour Court and the Labour Appeal Court For 10 Years
In 1997, Raymond Zondo took up an appointment as the acting Judge of the Labour Court and was later appointed as a judge to the North Gauteng Division of the High Court. In 2000, he was appointed as the Judge President of the Labour Court and the Labour Appeal Court. He stayed in this office for ten years before returning to the North Gauteng Division of the High Court.
While serving as president Judge, he was a member of different committees like the Language Committee of Heads of Court and the five members panel chaired by Chief Justice Pius Langa responsible for investigating discrimination, race, and gender in the judiciary. While serving as president Judge, Zondo faced questioning from the parliament due to the increased living allowances he received, but he was able to clear himself from those charges.
He Receives A Salary of R2.6m As Deputy Chief Justice Of South Africa
From November 2011, Raymond Zondo became a Justice of the Constitutional Court in an acting capacity, and by August 2021, Jacob Zuma made the appointment permanent. His salary while serving in this capacity is also unavailable, but seeing that it is an enviable position in the judiciary, it may have added to his current net worth.
After the retirement of Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, Raymond Zondo succeeded him as the Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa. According to reports, he earns a whopping sum of R2.6 million in his current role.
Zondo is also the presiding judge for The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture. Hearings began in 2018 and have been ongoing. The allowance he received for this role has not been made public. According to reports, he has an estimated net worth of $5 million, which he built through his earnings from his successful law career.