JSC in heated debate over transformation

2013-04-10 10:32

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Johannesburg - Eastern Cape High Court Judge Clive Plasket and Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng got into a heated argument over transformation before the Judicial Service Commission, according to a report on Wednesday.

The Times newspaper reported that Plasket, one of the three candidates for two Supreme Court of Appeal positions, said on Tuesday that he could not understand why white male judges were overlooked in the absence of other candidates.

At a meeting of the JSC, Plasket said: "Once you find yourself with only white male candidates, I can't see any basis upon which you can refuse to appoint a suitably qualified person."

Mogoeng said that if only experienced white men were appointed to the bench, the transformation of the judiciary would suffer.

"When then are we ever going to transform the judiciary, if we are committed to it?"

Plasket said that if the JSC did not fill vacancies because applications were received from "the wrong race" this could have a negative impact on the administration of justice.

JSC commissioner Izak Smuts has written an internal discussion document in which he said there was a "very real perception in certain quarters" that white men would only be appointed to the judiciary in exceptional circumstances".

He suggested an honest debate should be held on the issue.

The JSC has rejected Cape Town advocate Jeremy Gauntlett's application for appointment as a Constitutional Court judge.

He has been denied judicial appointment four times; twice for the Constitutional Court and twice for the High Court.
Read more on:    jsc  |  mogoeng mogoeng  |  jeremy gauntlett  |  judiciary

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