Justice Edwin Cameron gets his wish after Ramaphosa appoints him inspecting judge of prisons

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Judge Edwin Cameron. File.
Judge Edwin Cameron. File.
ELIZABETH SEJAKE/RAPPORT

President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed retired Constitutional Court Justice Edwin Cameron as Inspecting Judge of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) – an independent prison watchdog.

Cameron's position should take effect on January 1, 2020.

In the meantime, Ramaphosa has reappointed Justice Johann van der Westhuizen in the position for the three months preceding Cameron's appointment, the Presidency said in a statement on Thursday.

"The Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services is tasked with monitoring and oversight of correctional facilities around the country and reports on the treatment of inmates and the conditions of correctional centres," the Presidency explained.

Cameron has been an outspoken critic of the conditions in South Africa's prisons, including overcrowding and violence, and the court's role in the prison system.

Speaking to News24 when he stepped down as a Constitutional Court Justice earlier this year, Cameron said he was gunning for this job.

"I am hoping to be involved in prisons, I don't know yet. You heard the Chief Justice [Mogoeng Mogoeng] in that final ceremony. He said to the Minister [of Justice Ronald Lamola] that here is someone who can be the judicial inspector. Maybe that will happen. It is in the minister's hands.

"The minister will decide, it is a presidential appointment ... I have indicated that I am willing to do it. It is a tough job. It is not a full-time job, but it is a tough job that will require attention and I hope to continue teaching.

"I hope to continue advocacy against the stigma with HIV and Aids. It is still a disease of silence. It is still a disease of shame. Every family, every household has it," he said.

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