Malema asks judge candidate if he was deployed by political party

2015-10-06 18:30
(Jenni Evans, News24)

(Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema wanted to know whether a candidate for a judge's vacancy in the Northern Cape was deployed to the bench by a political party.

Advocate Lawrence Lever, from Mahikeng in the North West, studied law at Rhodes University in the 1980s - a tumultuous time during apartheid.

After going through his CV and experience, "Commissioner Malema" was first on the mic.

Lever's CV included his stint as a member of Parliament for the Democratic Party - a predecessor of the DA - between 1999 and 2004. He left apparently because he felt he had reached his "political shelf life".

"In the eighties you were at the university? And you were conscious of what was happening in society at the time? And you went with the flow?" Malema asked.

Lever replied that he did not claim to have participated in politics.

"You took a decision not to be involved in the eighties... and all of a sudden in 1999 when there is nothing happening, no killing of anyone, you decide to join Parliament?"

Lever said he had been preoccupied with being a student, and had also been grateful to have been in Parliament at a time he believed he could play a role.

Then Malema asked: "Would it be correct for political parties to deploy their people as judges on the judiciary?"

Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, who had been clock watching to keep proceedings on schedule, stepped in and asked Lever directly: "Have you been deployed by a political party to apply to become a judge?"

Lever replied: "Not at all."

Moseneke reminded commissioners that the application forms contained disclosure sections and commissioners would have seen political affiliation details in there.

Awkward questions are part of the interview process, with the commissioners even asking if applicants had happy childhoods.

So far, two of the six people chosen for vacancies in the Gauteng High Court have been selected in spite of their political pasts. 

Willem van der Linde admitted he was a member of a secret Afrikaner youth group Ruiterwag and had turned down an interview to join the Broederbond. Nelisa Mali was an ANC member until 2009.

Read more on:    jsc  |  julius malema  |  judiciary

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