Chris Jafta was born in 1959 in Matatiele where he did both his primary and secondary schooling. He is married to Nomviwo and they have two children; a daughter, Kgomotso and a son, Tshepiso.
Jafta obtained his B Juris and LLB degree from the University of Transkei (now Walter Sisulu University) in 1983 and 1987.
Jafta started his career as a court interpreter in 1983. He was appointed a prosecutor of District Court at the beginning of 1984 until December 1985 when his authority to prosecute was withdrawn by the Attorney-General at the instance of the Security Police. He was demoted to the position of an Administrative Clerk. This occurred after he had rejected instructions from the security police on how he should conduct prosecutions in some cases and had declined to prosecute people who were arrested for walking in the streets at night in contravention of emergency regulations which were in operation then. He was briefly detained and subjected to an intense interrogation by the Security Police.
In July 1986 he was appointed a Magistrate. In February 1988 he resigned and joined Mbuqe and Mbuqe, a firm of attorneys, as a candidate attorney. But in August 1988 he resigned to join the University of Transkei as a lecturer. There he taught Commercial Law and Constitutional Law. In 1992 he did pupilage at the Johannesburg Bar.
Jafta commenced practice in Mthatha in January 1993. His practice focused mainly on Labour and Constitutional matters.
In 1997 Jafta was appointed Acting Judge of the High Court (Transkei Division) for four months. In January 1999 be became Acting Judge of the same division until November when he was appointed on a permanent basis. In June 2001 Jafta became the Acting Judge President of the Transkei Division until June 2003. In 2003 he was appointed Acting Judge of Appeal at the Labour Appeal Court until June 2004. From June to October 2004 he was Acting Judge of Appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein. In November 2004 he was appointed Judge of Appeal at the same court.
In December 2007 Jafta was appointed Acting Justice at the Constitutional Court until May 2008.