Personal details

Cecil Mpho Somyalo was born in Qumbu, 50km outside Umtata. He is married and has two sons and one daughter.


Somyalo obtained his BA degree from the University of Fort Hare. He later studied at the University of South Africa, obtaining his UED in 1960 and Dip Juris in 1970.

Professional history

Somyalo taught English, History and Latin for a few years at St John’s College in Umtata and Cowan High School in Port Elizabeth. In 1971 he was admitted as an attorney and practiced for 24 years in Port Elizabeth. In 1990 Somyalo qualified as an Arbitrator under the auspices of IMSSA, arbitrating mainly labour disputes throughout the country but particularly in the Eastern Cape. He was appointed to act as a Judge of the Transkei Division in 1995 and promoted to Judge President of that Division from 1997-1999. In July 1999 he was promoted to Judge President of the Eastern Cape Division.

Somyalo has also been Vice President of the Rules Board for Courts of Law for some 10 years and was appointed in 1999 by the then Chief Justice I Mahomed to serve on a Committee chaired by Judge LC Harms to draft the present Code of Conduct for Judges as well as the Procedures for Complaints Against Judges.

In 2001 Somyalo was appointed as an acting justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa for two terms.

Other activities


  •     Community Police Forum: Representing SANCO
  •     ECA Chamber of Commerce (Hon Member)
  •     Trustee, Reformed Presbyterian Church
  •     Founder Member of the Friends of Dora Nginza Hospital

Interests and hobbies
Somyalo enjoys cricket, rugby and listening to music.