President Jacob Zuma has appointed Mandisa Muriel Lindelwa Maya as the president of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) with immediate effect.
The presidency said the decision was made after Zuma consulted with the Judicial Service Commission.
Maya is the first woman to be appointed to the highest office at the Supreme Court of Appeal since the establishment of the court in 1910.
"Her appointment to the position elevates her to the third highest position in the Judicial Branch, after the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic," Zuma said.
"We wish to congratulate her for being the first woman to occupy such a high position in the judiciary and wish Justice Maya all the best in her new important responsibility of advancing our constitutional democracy."
Maya was appointed an acting judge of the High Court in 1999 and a full time judge in 2000.
She has acted as a judge at the Labour Court, the SCA and the Constitutional Court before being appointed in 2006 as an SCA judge.
In 2015, she was appointed as the first female deputy president of the SCA and, with her latest appointment, makes history again.
According to Maya's CV, her journey to the SCA started as an attorney's clerk in Mthatha in 1987.
She went on to become a court interpreter, prosecutor, state law advisor, a law lecturer and a practising advocate.
She started performed as an acting judge of the High Court in Cape Town and the Mthatha High Court in 1999 and has also worked in the Supreme Court of Namibia and the Appeal Court in Lesotho.