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Monday, 8 April 2013

White Men Can't Judge

Well there you go. Our racist and crony-based employment regime has officially hit our judiciary. This is a tragedy of epic proportions in the legal field. It has finally been acknowledged and come to light that there is direct racial profiling going into the determination of who gets to be judges in this country. This means that the wealth of legal experience and expertise over decades is being sidelined along racial lines.

Commissioner of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Izak Smuts has written a discussion document which pointedly outlines the fact that the JSC is deliberately and inexcusably side lining white males. This means that none of their experience, skill, analysis or expertise will ever be heard from the bench. What does this say about the quality of judgements that we can expect to receive in the future on landmark cases? Simply stated it means that we can expect irrational decisions that are not only bad in law but are also severely out of step with international best practise.

Be deliberately excluding white males from the bench the ANC is making a clear statement - blacks are in charge of the judiciary and then only those that agree with our philosophy. We have all known that there has been a definite move towards "transformation" of our courts which has already made it extremely difficult for white males to be appointed to positions as judges (despite the fact that they have already spend years in positions of Acting Judges and even more time as Senior Counsels who are highly qualified and skilled). This simply serves to prove to us that BEE and the racist policies of the ANC have finally and fully infiltrated one of the last bastions of protection that we may have had against the regime - the judiciary.

The judiciary is tasked with interpreting and applying the law in accordance with fairness, justice and above all the Constitution. The new regime is deliberately moving towards removing all white judges from the bench and appointing their poorly trained and pathetically motivated voters. This really is a sad day for the legal profession and fraternity where we are now being taught that is not what you know or even who you know that counts but rather the colour of your skin.

I can see long delays in important legal matters because of this BEE strategy in our superior courts and the judges that are meant to uphold the law (Magistrates courts have been a joke for about a decade now and I have more respect for a plain old attorney with 10 years experience than I do for most magistrates). Lord give us strength...

Is this what our LLB is coming to? Is this the calibre of student that we allow to proceed to the end of a professional degree that is both extremely technical and demanding? How did this person even get into university in the first place? 30% pass rate is acceptable and teachers'  right to strike is more important than students' right to be educated. And this is the next generation of legal professionals? Can I get a ticket off of this planet please?

White men can't judge - commissioner

2013-04-07 20:17

Johannesburg - A commissioner of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) will ­on Monday advise his employer to "come clean" and tell white male candidates that they needn't ­bother applying to become judges.

And, in what may be seen as a startling indictment of the JSC, it has also been warned to guard "most strenuously" against the "pursuit of a covert political ­agenda under the guise of an ­alleged constitutional imperative [of transformation]".

These statements are contained in a discussion document that commissioner Izak Smuts is due to present at a closed meeting of the commission on Monday, ahead of a week of interviews in Cape Town.
In the document, which City Press has seen, Smuts says: "One way or the other, the JSC must deal with the uncomfortable perception that the graffiti on its wall reads 'white men can't judge'."
He argues that "the JSC ought to have an honest debate about its ­approach to the appointment of white male candidates.
"If the majority view is that... white male candidates are only to be considered for appointment in exceptional circumstances, the JSC should, at the very least, come clean and say so, so that white male candidates are not put through the charade of an interview before ­being rejected."
Smuts, a practising advocate and senior counsel, is something of a crusader in the legal profession. He recently quit his position as deputy chair of the General Council of the Bar over the ­council’s position on the legal practice bill.
His comments come against the backdrop of increasing criticism and questions around the JSC’s ­appointment of candidates.
In April 2011, the JSC decided to leave open two spots on the Western Cape High Court's Bench, despite the fact that there were four white senior counsel available.
The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) would eventually declare this decision irrational.
In the case, the JSC argued it could not be expected to give ­reasons for non-appointment of candidates because its members voted by secret ballot.
But the SCA ruling went against this view.
Startlingly, the JSC then elected not to change its voting procedures, causing some in legal circles to question how a body could give reasons for a decision taken by a secret ballot.
When lawyer Jeremy Gauntlett applied for a position on the Western Cape High Court Bench in the October round of interviews last year, the JSC faced court action because he had not been appointed.
When compelled to give reasons, the JSC said it did not believe Gauntlett, one of the most highly regarded advocates in the country, had the necessary judicial temperament.
He was again passed over.
Newly retired Constitutional Court Justice Zak Yacoob also ­recently criticised the JSC when he said he “doubted” the Constitution ever envisioned a process where JSC members would vote by closed ballot.
He argued that a comprehensive set of guidelines should be put in place.
In his discussion paper, Smuts also raises the spectre of a "covert political agenda" by the JSC.
In April last year, Advocate Wim Trengove told the Mail&Guardian there was an impression “the political component of the ANC (on the JSC) wields far greater influence than in the first five years”.
Smuts will tomorrow tell the JSC the word ‘transformation’ appears in no statutory provision relating to the JSC, including the ­Constitution.
The Constitution only provides for the “need for the judiciary to ­reflect broadly the racial and gender composition of South Africa”, Smuts argues in his submission.
Focus on women
Gender transformation will be at the top of the agenda for the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) when it meets this week to fill 11 vacancies in the country’s superior courts.
Gender transformation of the judiciary in South Africa has not only ground to a halt, it is actually going backwards.
According to government statistics, it appears the JSC has kept the pedal down on racial transformation, but has sidelined gender transformation.
In March 2011, the number of African judges (98) for the first time surpassed that of white judges (90). In fact, the number of white judges has shrunk by 30% when compared with 2005.
In that year, 30% of judges were women, which this year dropped to just 28%.
In this round of interviews, 14 of the 23 potential candidates are women.

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