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 then Chief Justice of South Africa, Justice M.M. Corbett, delivered the keynote address during the opening ceremony. He stressed on the importance of a strong and well maintained judicial system. The formation of JOASA took 3 days during culminating in the adoption of a draft constitution by 100 judicial officers from th 9 provinces on 02 March 1996. A steering committee of ten members was elected to take charge of the organisation's affairs on interim basis 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. Mmagistrates 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 1996 South African Constitution which provides, "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, Limpopo), 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), Ms. J van Schalkwyk (Chief Magistrate, Kempton Park), Mr. D Dosio (Regional Court Magistrate, Soweto), Mr. TV Ratshibvumo (Regional Magistrate Johannesburg), Mr. Nazeem Joemath (Magistrate, East London), Mr. P Govender (Magistrate, Hermanus) and currently, Mr. D Thulare (Chief Magistrate, Cape Town).
Over the years, JOASA has overseen the transition of Magistrates from Civil Servants to become Public Office Bearers in 2003. JOASA strives to achieve full judicial independence and the benefits befitting Public Office Bearers. JOASA has as one of its goals, attainment of Single Judiciary.