- The Black Lawyers Association has questioned EFF leader Julius Malema's fitness for the Judicial Service Commission.
- This comes after Malema responded to criticism of his use of white legal representation in his assault case.
- The BLA says if Malema views white legal professionals as superior, then he is not suitable for the commission.
The Black Lawyers Association (BLA) believes that EFF leader Julius Malema may be unfit to serve on the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) after his response to criticism on social media of his use of white legal representatives.
Much has been made about the fact that he appeared to be an advocate for black liberation but that he used white lawyers to defend him in his assault case.
However, Malema hit back outside the Randburg Magistrate's Court on Thursday, saying: "No fool can tell me which lawyer must represent me."
"It it is true, we are represented by white lawyers. They will represent us today, tomorrow and anytime we want."
BLA president Mashudu Kutama said the comments Malema made implied that black legal professionals lost cases and made the EFF look disorganised. The comments also made black legal professionals appear incompetent, they added.
But, Kutama pointed out, this was not the case. Black lawyers won cases for Malema in the past. In addition, the country has produced four black chief justices.
"We need to have a discussion and give Malema the opportunity to clarify his statements. If he views white legal professionals as superior, then he is not suitable to hold office," Kutuma added.
The JSC interviews candidates for judicial vacancies and makes recommendations for appointments to the Bench - something Kutama believes Malema may be unsuitable for.
The BLA has been advocating for the use of black legal professionals by the government and high-profile leaders.
Following a march in July 2017 to call on the government to address a bias towards the appointment of white, male legal professionals, little change has taken place, Kutama said.
Malema and EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi are on trial for allegedly assaulting a police officer, Lieutenant Colonel Johannes Jacobus Venter, at Fourways Memorial Park cemetery during the funeral proceedings of struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on 14 April 2018.
Do you want to know more about this topic? Sign up for one of News24's 33 newsletters to receive the information you want in your inbox. Special newsletters are available to subscribers.