JSC wants more black, female judges

2011-04-20 18:01

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Johannesburg - More women and black candidates should apply to become judges so that the judiciary can reflect South Africa's racial and gender composition, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) said on Wednesday.

Releasing the names of the three women and eight men it had recommended to President Jacob Zuma for appointment as judges, the JSC reiterated that this was a concern.

"This concern is illustrated by the fact that of the 31 candidates that were shortlisted for the vacant positions, only nine were women," the JSC said in a statement.

"Of the nine women interviewed by the JSC, there are only three women recommended to the president for appointment."

The JSC said the Constitution required it to give consideration to the judiciary's need to reflect broadly the racial and gender composition of South Africa when making judicial appointments.

"... more women and black candidates should make themselves available for these positions," it said.

Dedication

Meanwhile, former SA Human Rights Commission head Jody Kollapen was among those recommended for appointment as a judge in the high courts in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Kollapen already works as an acting judge and if Zuma endorses the JSC's recommendation, the position will become permanent.

His name was on a list of recommendations the JSC forwarded to Zuma following interviews in Cape Town earlier in April for vacancies in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), Competition Appeal Court, Electoral Court and the various divisions of the high court.

The recommendations were: Judge MJD Wallis for the SCA, with no recommendation for the second vacancy; Judge D H Zondi for one position for Judge in the Competition Appeal Court; and advocate MM Mthembu for the Electoral Court with no recommendation for the second vacancy.

Recommendations for two of three positions for judges in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court were made for Acting Judge YT Mbatha and advocate JA Ploos Van Amstel SC, with no recommendation for the third vacancy.

In the Northern Cape, there was one position for a judge of the Northern Cape High Court and Acting Judge MV Phatshoane was recommended.

In Gauteng there were six positions for judges in the high courts in Pretoria and Johannesburg.

Besides Kollapen, advocate JW Louw SC, Mr ND Tshabalala and advocate SE Weiner SC were recommended.

The JSC was unable to recommend candidates for the other two vacancies.

In the Western Cape, there was a recommendation for only one of three vacanices for the High Court - Acting Judge RCA Henney.

In its statement, the JSC statement said Chief Justice and JSC chairperson Sandile Ngcobo was satisfied with the professionalism and dedication displayed by the JSC commissioners in dealing with the interviews.

- SAPA

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