Being single mother will not affect my duties - SCA candidate

2015-04-14 19:35

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Cape Town - The only female candidate standing for one of two Supreme Court of Appeal positions assured the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) that being a single mother would not impact on her duties if selected.

Commission member and IFP MP Narend Singh had raised the question of motherhood during Eastern Cape High Court Judge Nambitha Dambuza's interview in Cape Town on Tuesday afternoon.

He had had asked her whether being a mother of to girls aged 14 and 16, and living in Port Elizabeth, would not affect her duties given that the SCA was in Bloemfontein.

Dambuza replied that she had decided to put her children in boarding school in anticipation of serving in such a position.

She did not plan to take her children out of the school if appointed and would travel during court recess, which coincided with school holidays.

Dambuza was also asked what it meant to be a mother in the judiciary and whether systems were in place to support women.

"From my personal experience, I wouldn't say there are formal systems in place in the judiciary, however, how your colleagues support you goes a long way," she replied.

Dambuza, who as acted continuously as a judge from April 2003, also served in the Competition Appeal Court.

She told the JSC she had 90 reported judgments in the Southern African Legal Information Institute database.

Kwazulu-Natal High Court Judge Trevor Gorven appeared after Dambuza and said he had served three acting terms at the SCA and was hoping to serve a fourth term next month.

"I am utterly committed to transformation. I have attempted to put it in practice in various kinds of ways," he told the JSC.

He was asked what he had learned from his colleagues and people he had mentored.

Gorven said he had worked with a black woman during her pupillage who came from an underprivileged background and had put herself through university despite all odds.

She did not get much support from private practices, but got lots of cases from Legal Aid.

Because of administrative "chaos" at Legal Aid, she did not get paid and had to leave for a position at the Public Protector.

He said he had learned this was a struggle for many candidates from poorer areas and wished a fund could be set up to support talented and worthy individuals, so they could compete with those from privileged backgrounds.

Gorven had also learnt about the intricacies of life in townships from colleagues he worked with on the bench, gaining "necessary, enriching and broadening perspectives".

"I've never visited a township tavern," he said, to much laughter.

The JSC has until Wednesday to interview the remaining candidates for the SCA and the Eastern Cape judge president position.

Read more on:    jsc  |  sca  |  judiciary

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