Hotly contested judicial vacancy post announced

2015-10-06 22:05
(Jenni Evans, News24)

(Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - The hotly contested vacancy for a judge in the Northern Cape High Court in Kimberley went to Mpho Catherine Mamosebo on Tuesday.

Her name will be forwarded to President Jacob Zuma, who will then decide whether to confirm the recommendation.

Vying for the same position were lawyers Sharon Erasmus and Lawrence Lever, who have also been acting as judges in the province.

During the interviews, Mamosebo was asked why another black judge should be appointed in the Northern Cape.

She replied: "I think we should not be limited to a quota of black and white... You need to look further than colour."

Mamosebo also had to defend herself against an objection to her candidacy by 10 members of the Northern Cape wing of the General Council of the Bar who felt that although she was competent, she had not been acting as a judge for long enough.

"I do not agree with them and I do not think they are correct," she said.

She was seven days shy of a three year stint as an acting judge and had a glowing recommendation from Pretoria Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair attached to her application.

The Ga-Rankuwa born woman had been up against lawyers Lever and Erasmus, who had also been acting judges in the province.

As a Judicial Service Commission (JSC) commissioner, EFF leader Julius Malema, had demanded of Lever whether he had been deployed to the bench by a political party after it emerged that he was a Member of Parliament for the Democratic Party, predecessor of the DA.

He also took Mamosebo on over her own previous political activities with the Akasia branch of the ANC, which kicked him out as leader of its youth wing. He quipped that she made the "right decision" by stopping her ANC activities.

Like many of the other candidates interviewed on Tuesday, the active Methodist Church member started at the bottom, as a clerk and a maintenance officer.

Her CV includes a period as an assistant director at the Independent Complaints Directorate, now the Independent Police Investigative Directorate. She was also head of court in Atteridgeville and worked at the Magistrate's Commission on disciplinaries.

Ironically, one of her judgments when she moved to the bench was in favour of Erasmus, who was suing the Eastern Cape roads department on behalf of her ward.
Erasmus was not one of the objectors to her candidacy.

In another case, she had ordered a probe into the welfare of children kept at the controversial Noupoort drug rehabilitation facility in the Northern Cape.

Read more on:    jsc  |  kimberley  |  judiciary  |  politics

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