I have been a victim of racism, sexism - SCA judge

2017-04-04 22:43
Judge Leona Theron (Supplied)

Judge Leona Theron (Supplied)

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Johannesburg – Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Leona Theron has been a victim of racism and sexism, she told the Judicial Service Commission on Tuesday.

“Yes, I have been a victim of racism, I have also been a victim of sexism ,” she said during her interview for a position at the Constitutional Court.

She is one of five candidates.

“Judges require training. At the high court we underwent diversity training. Recently, at our court we did a similar exercise, and I must say for myself, as a black person, I  got to look at some of my white colleagues who participated in that session a bit differently,” she said.

She knew she was not inadequate, but a certain director had made her feel that way in the past.

Judges should know how to treat new judges with dignity. Senior judges should realise that junior and acting judges would make mistakes. “We build them up or we break them down,” she said.

“Even senior judges make mistakes. We are not infallible.”

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng asked her what changes she would make at the Constitutional Court. She replied there was nothing that needed to be changed.

Everyone there, including security guards and cleaning staff, contributed to a feeling of ubuntu at the highest court in the land. She had never heard of a single acting judge who said they felt uncomfortable at the Constitutional Court. 

Theron said she got to her present position because of people who had helped her. She in turn wanted to help others.

“I am passionate about getting involved in organisations that empower women."

Ways should be found of increasing the number of women in the judiciary, she told the panel of commissioners.

“Something to consider is to appoint women to act in smaller divisions and not just huge divisions where they can get sucked in and also feel intimidated.

“I believe in the saying ‘umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu’ meaning you are who you are because of others.” 

Read more on:    constitutional court  |  judiciary

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