ConCourt: Pressure on female judge

2012-06-10 19:13

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Johannesburg - The only female candidate for a vacancy on the Constitutional Court bench had been put under "tremendous pressure" to make herself available for the post, according to media reports on Sunday.

Acting Constitutional Court Justice Mandisa Maya was interviewed on Saturday by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

She was nominated by the Women's Legal Resources Trust, the International Association of Women Judges, SA Women Lawyers' Association, and the University of Cape Town's Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit, the Sunday Times reported.

Maya told the JSC she had been intensively lobbied by these organisations to make herself available.

Professor Shadrack Gutto of the University of SA told the paper there would be an outcry if Maya was overlooked.

She was an acting judge already, and the JSC was more likely to appoint a woman, he said.

There are only two female judges out of ten on the Constitutional Court bench.

During Maya's interview, Gauteng Judge President Bernard Ngoepe said judges in the Constitutional Court were being described as "conservative or progressive".

'Judicial cult'

He warned that a "judicial cult" was being built around certain judges, reported City Press.

Maya told the JSC her perspective as a woman with a rural and township background would benefit the court.

She understood the problems facing ordinary people.

Three other candidates were also interviewed by the JSC on Saturday: judges Raymond Zondo, Robert Nugent, and Lebotsang Bosielo.

Zondo was currently acting as a Constitutional Court judge.

According to City Press, legal circles believed he was the preferred candidate.

Nugent said in his interview the JSC should ask itself why it had struggled to attract candidates for the Constitutional Court.

Other top courts in the world attracted thousands of applicants, the paper reported him as saying.

He had previously withdrawn his candidacy as he did not trust the JSC to do its duty, The Sunday Independent reported.

The same weekly reported that the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal wanted judges to be recruited from ANC ranks.

The province complained the judiciary was still untransformed despite the presence of black judges.

- SAPA
Read more on:    johannesburg  |  judiciary
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