Of merit and transformation

2013-04-14 14:00

A sad outcome of this week’s hearings of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to choose new judges is that appointments based on merit, on the one hand, and transformation, on the other, are held to be mutually exclusive.

The debate running through this week’s hearings was sparked by JSC member Izak Smuts’ presentation, which suggested that the commission should confess that there is no longer a place for white men on the judiciary. Throughout the week, various judges and members of the commission have waded in to defend transformation, or attack it.

At the heart of all their contributions have been this fallacy: merit and transformation are different things. It is the height of fallacious race-based thinking as it carries the subtext that white applicants get there on merit and black (and female) applicants are there on a transformation ticket alone.

Nothing could be further from the truth, or as dangerously close to racial myth.

Transformation is a policy to ensure that the judiciary’s make-up reflects the demographics of the society over which it exercises judgement.

All applicants should be excellent and get there on merit. It is a natural assumption (and a correct one), but the tenor of the debate is that black and female applicants are there to satisfy racial or gender quotas – and that the words ‘excellence’ or ‘merit’ are applied to only white applicants.

It will require the most judicious of minds to upend this week’s fallacies. They must work quickly to do so and state so publicly.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.