Budlender defends remark

2009-09-20 17:20

Johannesburg - Lawyer and acting Western Cape High Court Judge Geoff Budlender found himself embroiled in questions from the JSC on whether he had been sidelined previously as a judge because of cases he had handled previously.

Speaking during his interview in Soweto on Sunday for a post on the Constitutional Court, he told the Judicial Service Commission he had been turned down in three previous applications to be appointed as a judge in the Western Cape High Court.

He had been told by people he did not want to name that it could be because of his work on an application to the Constitutional Court to force the government to dispense an HIV/Aids drug containing nevirapine.

He conceded it could be "because I am not good enough" and that he was not bitter about his non-appointment, but wanted to be frank with the commission and say what he had been told.

He was told the "HIV case made some people very angry" in the previous administration.

"Those days are past and I believe there is now a different attitude."

However, some of the commissioners took issue with this, and the focus shifted from his 30 years of practice which include being an attorney, an advocate, working for a non-governmental organisation, in private practice and a position in the department of land affairs.

After his first failed application for judge it was suggested that it was because he had not been a judge before.

Frank

But later, someone told him: "There was a feeling by some people that I had gone too far in some of the challenges I had made. I'm not complaining about it. I thought about whether I should make this statement, but I thought I should be frank."

Advocate Marumo Moerane defended the JSC, saying the suggestion that the 25 people who had interviewed him previously were taking instructions from the previous administration, was "totally not correct".

"There was never a time when your appointment was not recommended because you had offended certain people in the [former president Thabo] Mbeki administration because of your role in the nevirapine case."

Budlender replied: "What I was careful to say is that some people were angry with me about what I had done, that this person is going to challenge government."

One after the other, the commissioners questioned Budlender on this statement, with Budlender eventually saying this was just what he had been told, and was pleased to hear it was not the case.

"I'm sure that I've upset and trodden on toes and I can see that I have trodden on many toes and I am very sorry that I have trodden on toes."

Gossip

He denied a suggestion that taking this seriously could mean he was open to gossip saying: "I'm not a gossip, I come before this commission for a very important job."

The commissioners also heard of his history as an anti-apartheid activist while a student and the time one of his houses in Cape Town was petrol bombed.

Replying to a question from advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, who said the Cape Bar only had about seven black advocates, he spoke about the need for transformation in the judiciary, the problems young black lawyers had in getting the first brief that would give them exposure, and how something needed to be done to address this.

He said appointing him as a judge would not upset the balance because the court was already a black-led court with black judges.

Addiction

Earlier, Judge Eberhardt Bertlesmann was interviewed for one of the four posts of judge.

He was questioned on some of his judgments, on his allegiance to South Africa given his Namibian birth and German parentage. He acknowledged that he had previously been treated for an addiction.

"It is not a secret. There is life after such an experience."

When asked about transformation in the judiciary, he said as a white male he could never be a transformation candidate, but believed the Constitutional Court should be composed of individuals who collectively provided the judicial guidance the country needed.

He said the JSC should decide whether the appointment of a white male was justified.

- SAPA

Read more on:    jsc  |  dumisa ntsebeza  |  geoff budlender  |  constitutional court  |  justice
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
 

ANCYL: Not voting would be blasphemy

Not voting in the forthcoming elections would be blasphemy, the ANCYL says in a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of struggle icon Nelson Mandela's Rivonia trial speech.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia C3

The Nokia C3 Features a 2+ Megapixel Camera, A2DP, Bluetooth,...

From R1175.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you by...read more

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.