Judge candidates forced to confront their past

2015-10-06 18:01


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Cape Town - Applying to be a judge is a fraught process where the past can come back to haunt one, as some of the candidates applying for six positions in Gauteng found during their interviews in Cape Town on Tuesday.

Attorney Mpostoli Leonard Twala had to revisit a reckless driving conviction in 1988 and a drunk-driving conviction. He gave up drinking in 1989.

Advocate Willem van der Linde quickly conceded in his interview that joining Ruiterwag - the youth wing of the Afrikaner Broederbond - when he was a student was "indefensible".

He said it took him too long to absorb it was only white and male and stayed in the group for 14 years.

"I stayed too long in it. I should have resigned," he said.

The Deputy Chief Justice [Dikgang Moseneke] said in his summary: "So it wasn't such a cool idea."

Van der Linde turned down an invitation to join the Broederbond - some members of which had visited him in his chambers - and went on to join the National Association for Democratic Lawyers (Nadel).

But it later emerged that he joined Nadel only in 2014.

The country's liberation in 1994 brought an "emotional and intellectual liberation" and he had his own "personal transformation agenda" when he acted with black junior counsel.

'A cathartic experience'

He conceded that as a white man going on 60 next year, he had had advantages others did not.

"Perhaps I could give some of the fruits of that back to society."

Moseneke, who studied with Van der Linde, lightened the moment saying: ''I remember saying to you, 'your government is going to collapse'. I don't want to say I was right."

Referring to Twala's convictions, Moseneke congratulated him for giving up drinking in 1989.

"There was no reason for me to hide it. That is why I put it in my papers," Twala said.

Asked why he wanted to be a judge, Twala said: "I have been an attorney for 29 years. I think it's time now to make myself available on a different level."

He said if he was successful, his wife would have to take over his trucking company.

"It's always a cathartic experience to be pushed into one's past and be forced to look into the mirror," said Moseneke.

The panel included EFF leader Julius Malema and Mathole Motshekga, who recently rejected Homo naledi as a link to early man.

Read more on:    jsc  |  dikgang moseneke  |  johannesburg  |  judiciary

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