JSC in talks on transformation

2013-04-08 14:41

Cape Town - The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) was on Monday discussing a call by one of its members to "come clean" on the appointment of white men as judges.

"We are still discussing the... issue that was leaked to the media, but on its merits," JSC spokesperson Dumisa Ntsebeza said in a text message by lunch time.

The commission gathered in Cape Town on Monday for a five-day meeting.

The issue referred to is a discussion paper - titled "Transformation and the Judicial Service Commission" - prepared by practising advocate and senior counsel Izak Smuts for presentation to the JSC.

In it, he reportedly says there exists "a very real perception in certain quarters that the JSC is, in general, set against the appointment of white male candidates except in exceptional circumstances".

He proposed that the JSC has "an honest debate" about its approach to the appointment of white male candidates.

"If the majority view is that... white male candidates are only to be considered for appointment in exceptional circumstances [an approach I consider to be unlawful and unconstitutional], the JSC should at the very least come clean and say so."

Smuts contended this would prevent white male candidates being "put through the charade of an interview before being rejected".

The JSC is meeting in Cape Town to interview 23 short-listed candidates for 11 open judicial positions. The meeting ends on Friday.

The short-list was decided in February this year.

There was a furore at that time over the JSC's rejection of Cape Town advocate Jeremy Gauntlett for appointment as a Constitutional Court judge.

It was the fifth time Gauntlett was turned down for judicial appointment.

Contacted for comment on Monday, African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) MP Steve Swart, a long-standing member of Parliament's justice and constitutional development portfolio committee, said there was merit in what Smuts was suggesting.

"We (the ACDP) definitely support what he has called for."

Swart also referred to the controversy over the JSC's rejection of Gauntlett.

"It was totally unacceptable he was overlooked," he said.

There was definitely a problem with the way the JSC selected candidates, "particularly white candidates".

Swart said his party was concerned about the way eminent candidates were overlooked by the JSC, and suggested there was a "very strong political agenda" at play.

Appointing white males

Congress of the People (Cope) MP and justice spokesperson, Luzelle Adams, said she doubted the JSC would come out and say it would not be appointing white, male judges.

"I doubt they will say that."

Noting that the appointment process was by secret ballot, she said race should not be an issue when it came to appointing judges.

"Race should be out of the issue; we should be looking at the quality of the candidates going to the Bench," Adams said.

The justice ministry was not immediately available for comment on the issue.

However, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, speaking during debate on his budget vote in Parliament in May last year, denied there were political agendas pursued by some JSC members.

"There are views... that the JSC tends to overlook quality and competence and that its decisions are influenced by political agendas.

"These sentiments are devoid of any truth and tend to undermine the integrity of the JSC's esteemed members...," he said at the time.

The DA and IFP justice spokespersons were not immediately available for comment.

In October last year, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said that the transformation of the judiciary was an ongoing "juggling act" between meeting constitutional objectives and appointing people who can carry out judicial functions effectively.

"Transformation is no longer about appointing black people and women to the judiciary - there are added factors," Mogoeng said at the time.

A few months earlier, in August, the Black Lawyers' Association (BLA) said a shortlist of candidate judges drawn up by the JSC was "worrisome" as it did not reflect the "demographics" of South Africa.

  • Cane Corso - 2013-04-08 15:09

    Whilst we have racist AA and BBBEE policies this country will remain divided.

      Nigel Burgess - 2013-04-08 15:42

      Correct. The very nature of AA & BBBEE policy contradicts the very principles of democracy. It would be far better for the ANC to simply say we don't care for democracy, revenge tastes better.

      Rudi De Wet - 2013-04-08 16:06

      If a few white lawyers found a White Lawyers Association it will be labelled racist. But nobody says anything about a Black Lawyers Association. Which leads me to believe that if anything is exclusively for whites it's racist but if it is exclusively for blacks? what is it then?

      Maria Roth - 2013-04-08 16:08

      Except Nigel they have had nearly 2 decades of revenge so I think that it is greed and apartheid masquerading as revenge. They feel that revenge is justifiable but greed and hunger for power and sectionalism cannot be justified so they don the cloak of vengeance to hide their motives.

      Bullet Proof - 2013-04-08 16:09

      If you are white male forget about applying for any government position. You see the anc hates whites and fears the white male. They would prefer living in squalor than to admit a white male to any position. This corrupt government is so obsessed with race, I bet they even refuse to wear white shirts. What a bunch of losers. Honest debate... who are you trying to fool. The anc circus can't spell honest debate without mentioning race or blaming apartheid

      Alexandra J. Little - 2013-04-08 16:13

      No way Bullet lol. You've never gone to any government department and seen white government employees including young ones? When was the last time you've been to government departments?

  • Samantha Suzanne Carr - 2013-04-08 15:12

    Double Eyeroll!!!!!!

  • Chibuli - 2013-04-08 15:13

    Radebe's lips are moving...! And he's a politician. This can only mean one thing!

  • Democrazy - 2013-04-08 15:16

    These idiots would rather starve than allow a farmer to farm based on his/her skin colour!

  • Matthew Jones - 2013-04-08 15:46

    This comittee of theirs should be disbanded and reformed. these JSC kings and Queens (or so they think of themselves) should be Banned from ever partaking in such activities ever again! to allow these people to push such an agenda is the same as lets say,PW Botha bringing back apartheild. It wouldnt why are these racists being allowed to do so? because they're black? sorry,but BEE isnt an excuse anymore

  • cj.venter - 2013-04-08 15:48

    easy. if it's all done in secret, remove the applican't identity and give them each a number, then they can be chosen according to their merits and qualifications as opposed to their race.

      Maria Roth - 2013-04-08 16:20

      They would just elect the least qualified and anybody with the excellence of adv Gauntlet would be excluded automatically. What should happen is people who have government ties should be excluded that would rid us of the element who are bedeviling our judiciary.

      Liz Rudy - 2013-04-09 09:21

      @ CJ - I was thinking the exact same thing! Remove details such as names/sex/race and allocate each applicant a number, then based on education, experience and merit, appoint the best applicant.

  • Marc Ross - 2013-04-08 15:59

    The only thing whites are good enough for is to pay taxes. Why dont the ANC just bring back Apartheid. Put the whites in homelands and carry on. Ooops who will pay for the gravy train then?

      Cane Corso - 2013-04-08 17:48


  • LĂ©viter Au-dessus des Montagnes-Bleues - 2013-04-08 16:05

    Transformed or merely Blackened? It's like defining empowerment versus arrogant entitlement! Amandla, Bayete 'mashini wami'! Easiest steps to repeat hysterical historical mistakes!

  • Alexandra J. Little - 2013-04-08 16:08

    As much as I agree with Smut's concerns in this article, I disagree with your comment on AA Cane. Let's be truly honest to our ourselves here. You have 2 candidates coming to a white-owned company. One black, the other white. They have equal qualifications, which candidate will the white-owned co choose without AA? And suppose the black candidate had one more on the white candidate? Which candidate will the white-owned co still choose without AA? Let's be honest with ourselves when answering this question. Further we live in a country, where the majority (black) are poor. That cannot be denied either. We want to move into first-world status, and economists will correct me if I'm wrong, but don't you need the majority (both black and white) to be skilled labourers? AA ensures that we move forward, it's not fun, but it must be applied, because I highly doubt on our own, we could see past colour. News24 is proof of this. Pick any story and we manage to bent it to black v white, Apartheid v ANC. This is the legacy that we as South Africans have inherited.

      Trotse Boer - 2013-04-08 16:45

      I would pick whoever is right for the Job....Plain and simple, I want the best person for my company. I have hired people many times before where one is chosen over the other based on personality and drive. If this is what you will do then that's your opinion and your choice. If I have a white guy with 50 ear piercings and a skull tattoo on his forehead compared to a black guy with slightly less qualifications but has drive I will obviously pick the Black guy. In another scenario as you mentioned it will be down to drive and ambition of the individual.

      Alexandra J. Little - 2013-04-08 17:23

      And doesn't this country need more people like yourself? Unfortunately, that's not true for everyone. And I see I have dissenters here. Let's throw the cat amongst the pidgeons here. Pre-1994, pre-AA, how many black managers or black people were there who held respectable positions in white cos? Give me example of a white-owned co who had such and I'll rest this issue and I'll concede that in just 20 years, when employing, we are quite capable looking past colour. In education, Catholic schools are an example. In cos?? Not convinced. And suppose this was pre-1994 Trotse, would your point of view still have applied?

      Cane Corso - 2013-04-08 17:24

      Social engineering does not work. Look how dismally apartheid failed. You can't take from one and give to the other. Besides. Should I not be free to choose whichever candidate I prefer, especially if I own the company. It would be suicidal to choose based on skin color alone. As is seen currently. Empower people with education and skills. That which government currently is criminally negligent of.

      Alexandra J. Little - 2013-04-08 17:37

      Did America not also apply AA Cane? Or did I get my facts wrong? Again, I totally agree that social engineering is suicidal. And I do wonder how far RSA would have been had all South Africans been given equal opportunities to begin with. My concern is not that people be given equal opportunities, my concern, is whether those opportunities will be granted equally, if you understand where I'm going. Even the DA, in their policy (don't know if you've read it), states that the disadvantaged should be looked at more carefully (again, paraphrasing and don't quote me). This is South Africa, we have been trained (very well I might add) to differentiate based on race. Call us racists or whatever, I still doubt that without AA, white-led cos would willingly overlook white candidates over black candidates.

      Cane Corso - 2013-04-08 17:44

      As far as I remember AA failed in America and in India and was subsequently scrapped. It did not work in countries where the majority had to incorporate the minority, how is it to now work here in a reverse situation.

      Alexandra J. Little - 2013-04-08 17:54

      And how many companies applied your logic before AA Michael?

      Cane Corso - 2013-04-08 17:57

      What's happening now is not a white co overlooking a black candidate. Existing white qualified personel is being sidelined and passed by, by not so qualified inexperienced black employees in a bid to ensure AA quotas are met. This is counterproductive and will in the end be disastrous. Less growth equals less jobs. We have a saying for this: You are farming backwards now. Thus, how have things then actually changed for the better?

      Maria Roth - 2013-04-08 18:23

      The problem arises when people speak subjectively and they project their prejudices onto others. Any business that is in the business of succeeding would choose the best candidate for the job. Qualifications are not always the only criterion but the way the candidate melds or co-operates with his colleagues and the synergy of the work force is also a factor. Breaking down the reasons why one would be employed above another is not always so banal.

      Alexandra J. Little - 2013-04-08 18:48

      Thank you for the clarification with regard to America and India. America however remains, a first world country because in comparison to RSA, the majority carry the burden of the minority right (I don't know much of the India situation, so can't comment on that)? In RSA, the minority carry the burden of the majority, and my point, for that to change, AA needs to be in place. Note, I haven't had examples of RSA companies pre-1994 who willingly employed black people in respectable positions and that's why we're still having this convo, nor has been disputed, that it is not about having equal opportunities, but rather the granting of equal opportunities which is the bone of contention here. And you raise a comment which is no stranger of sidestepping experienced white candidates over inexperienced black candidates. Now does the AA prescribe this or is the choice of the co? Does that not then prove that the co, as opposed to what has been stated here, is employing the black candidate, not because it wants to, but rather because legislation is requiring it to do so? And if indeed, there were no AA quotas, what would happen to the black candidate? Let's say cos were reluctant to employ black people before because they were afraid of gov etc. Post April 1994, when the ANC came into power, what percentage of companies then took this opportunity to groom black people for higher posts or again did the majority have to be pushed by AA?

      Alexandra J. Little - 2013-04-08 18:52

      And if that mindset was there from the beginning Maria, do you think we would be having this discussion? What would be my point?

      Cane Corso - 2013-04-08 19:27

      The fact remains that we need to educate and train people in the needed skills. Government is lacking in this. One cannot expect civil society and NGOs to bear the weight of this alone. This is thee most important factor in ensuring a sustainable economy and society. Teach a man to fish and all that. Once again. You cannot take from one and give to another, it merely shifts the scale. Btw. Currently there is near a million white Afrikaners sitting in their own squatter camps, out of three million. What have you achieved?

      Alexandra J. Little - 2013-04-08 20:10

      I do not understand the achievement question or how it fits into this discussion :). Again correct. The go-slow with the teachers and SADTU is in strong support of your point in gov lacking in this point. Though I see gov as not only having the resources or the means, but failing the black populace. This go-slow at the end of the day is hurting black pupils, the majority of whom are in public schools. But that's another debate. Going back to our discussion, without AA, would SA cos have embraced black candidates with open arms? And your point again on white Afrikaners, let's go back to my example, if it was that white Afrikaner candidate, versus the black candidate, without AA, who would have been chosen? And on teaching a man to fish, doesn't the man have to be granted the opportunity to learn as well? Don't get me wrong, we have people with a massive amount of wealth experience, this country is not poor, and that is not because wealth was built post-1994. It began way before then. Do you also see that you speak of a million white Afrikaners (you distinguish even within the white race), and say nothing of millions others who are in the same situation? Does that not support my argument Cane?

      Cane Corso - 2013-04-08 21:29

      I merely raised the white issue as a point of interest and fundamentally how nothing has changed. I tell you what. Tomorrow, you give your house, your job and your savings to the next person of color that walks past you. Thus you enable them on all the levels. Thus you will be absolved of your consience and truly set free. The day after, ask a person of color to assist you in feeding yourself and clothing your children. You seem to have not considered the nature of the animal called humans. Ultimately not my responsibility, or others, to maintain and/or secure the future survival of another species. I'm not a racist, I'm a realist. Mine just comes first. Sorry? I can't be. That would mean I reject my own kind.

      Tlotlo Phele - 2013-04-08 22:04

      Interesting comments , as a black professional I always believe in adding value in the organisation, and Alexandra is raising a valid point , the idea behind AA is not to bulldoze , but to have a society where we can be given a chance to contribute positively, I refer to positions which where not afforded to non -whites , AA is not the perfect solution but it afforded me the chance to input , demographics indicate that women and non africans are still not considered for senior positions, so AA aside, why are we still having this issue ? We should take a good look at ourselves

      Alexandra J. Little - 2013-04-09 07:21

      Thus you enable them on all the levels. Thus you will be absolved of your consience and truly set free. The day after, ask a person of color to assist you in feeding yourself and clothing your children. You seem to have not considered the nature of the animal called humans. Ultimately not my responsibility, or others, to maintain and/or secure the future survival of another species. I'm not a racist, I'm a realist. Mine just comes first. Sorry? I can't be. That would mean I reject my own kind. I see one other person agrees with you. Isn't this what I've been saying the whole time though? Your comment I think highlights my point very well. And I disagree with the giving out the house thing. The point is to teach a man to fish remember? It's about enabling a person to buy his/her own house.

      Alexandra J. Little - 2013-04-09 07:26

      A very good point Tlotlo. And I'd actually like to get commentary on that. Again I repeat, this convo would be redundant if people could show that without AA, we are capable of giving out equal opportunities to all races and have actually done it before.

  • Maria Roth - 2013-04-08 16:55

    The only transformation at this stage should come from the stuck in the past fossils who play a one sting guitar and can sing one note. We no longer give credence to their race driven apartheid style government and they daily expose themselves to the rest of the world in their true colours. Revenge that they are not prepared to acknowledge. but are prepared to imply, has for a long time not been their motive it is one they quite rightly deny and in the guise of transformation they sanctimoniously and unethically grab power for part political purposes, practising apartheid, tokenism, cronyism and job reservation. Sterling lot aren't they? I think not.

  • Pierre Van Der Walt - 2013-04-08 17:20

    It happens everywhere and even in white control companies as they are forced by legal actions should they not comply to 80% black rule. SA is showing away those who build it.

  • Raymond J. O'Connor - 2013-04-08 17:24

    Affirmative action in South Africa is the downfall of the black community and not the whites. Firstly, all the state-owned companies are in serious trouble due to mismanagement and political manipulation and/or influence. Key examples are SABC, Eskom. Secondly, the ground reforming is causing white farmers to go to neighbouring countries. What happens here is that those (white) farmers are becoming very rich due to the fact that South Africa is buying from that very same farmer anyways and importing back to South Africa, because the 'black' farms over here are 100% unproductive. Thirdly, the white people invest abroad and are still, after 19 years of democracy, the majority income group and growing. Last year the white population was responsible for more than 72% of the Revenue, meaning they basically carry the government and South Africa. This number is growing due to the fact that the black people exclude the whites in most departments, making themselves fail in the end. And no to my black fellow-South Africans, I am not a racist. These are facts.

  • Cane Corso - 2013-04-08 17:24

    Social engineering does not work. Look how dismally apartheid failed. You can't take from one and give to the other. Besides. Should I not be free to choose whichever candidate I prefer, especially if I own the company. It would be suicidal to choose based on skin color alone. As is seen currently. Empower people with education and skills. That which government currently is criminally negligent of.

  • Cane Corso - 2013-04-08 17:40

    They wont admit to anything. Because then they will admit to ascribing to racist policies. Twee gat jakkalse.

  • Hyrene Esterhuizen - 2013-04-08 19:14

    One can clearly see that South Africa is governed by vengeance.all critical posts are decided with vengeance in mind to the detriment of the it black,white,coloured,indian there is no transparency in getting the right person for the right job.And this brings about a dip in quality in all apects being service delivery,being productivity,and especially enforcing justice in this case,persons are appointed in positions that are tactfully in line with this insight of revenge against the apartheid regime.This type of mentality will do no good but just drag South Africa down to worser levels where we currently find ourselves,and we as citizens will bear the recoil of such vengeful decisions.

  • Cane Corso - 2013-04-08 21:35

    Apartheid wasn't wrong. It was managed wrong. Tigers and Lions do not hunt on the same plains. Humans are not much different. Attempting to mash them together in the same smelter merely results in more acrimony, more conflict and ultimately sadness.

      Maria Roth - 2013-04-08 22:32

      Cane Corso I feel that I must disagree with you. When people have freedom of association they naturally gravitate towards those they feel an affinity for and avoid those that they don't however this is a matter of choice and not prescribed. People should be equal under the law and they were not under apartheid. Job reservation that is being experienced by white men at the moment was also mandated by the apartheid regime. Freedom of movement and freedom to gather was also proscribed under apartheid. The list goes on and on. If you want to complain about job reservation feel free to do so and I will support you because I truly believe it is counter productive and robs the economy of growth and as a result job opportunities for all and I believe to compete we must promote merit and excellence without racial prejudice. I also believe that we should minimize party political interference in commerce and the judiciary because even though this was common in the apartheid era this does not promote equality in the broader society and can be very dangerous. Plus two wrongs never made a right so while we can tit for tat in many areas these are to crucial to a democracy to allow it.

  • Hasani P - 2013-04-08 23:32

    Whites are using all types of conniving methods to prevent a historical disadvantaged , oppressed, marginalized, down trodden from taking control of what belongs to him/her. The constitution has rendered it eloquently and unequivocally that the country should transform. The denial of the sacred right of the majority has come back to haunt the white man in a manner that the architect of the segregated laws have never forewarned him let alone preparing him . It is a democracy turned upside down.

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