The JSC is showing signs of maturity

2015-04-19 15:00

Our Constitution sees all people who live in South Africa as equals – and the country as a place where the colour of one’s skin should not be used for or against that person.

After 21 years of democracy, we should have moved beyond preferring one person over another, purely based on their skin colour.

Take, for example, the process that we use to select judges to our country’s courts. The Judicial Service Commission (JSC), which includes politicians, advocates and civil society, and which chooses the best people to lead our courts, has in the recent past been engulfed in heated arguments about race and transformation. As a result of this, interview questions posed to judicial officers differed from candidate to candidate.

However, this seems to have taken a back seat at this week’s interviews in Cape Town.

The JSC, which saw new members brought in after last year’s election, showed signs of maturity when new candidates were asked relatively similar questions. This, and the fact that the candidates did not have to face searing political attacks, indicated that the new bunch of interviewers were following the process to ensure that it was fair to everyone.

Democracy in practice is when the public sees that those in power are actually trying to live the principles of democracy. Our Constitution guarantees the separation between the three spheres of government – legislature, executive and judiciary. Each one of these spheres is mandated with different responsibilities and none of them is expected to encroach on the other’s responsibility.

The maturity shown by the members of the JSC this week – where cheap political point-scoring was absent – will lead the country in the right direction.

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