Chief Jus­tice ques­tions state’s le­gal work be­ing given to whites, slams blacks fronting for busi­ness

CityPress - - News - DU­MISANE LU­BISI du­­bisi@city­

Chief Jus­tice Mo­go­eng Mo­go­eng has ac­cused some black peo­ple of be­ing im­mersed in self-loathing, re­sult­ing in gov­ern­ment and mon­eyed blacks pre­fer­ring the ser­vices of white lawyers when they ap­pear in courts. In a speech at the Black Man­age­ment Forum’s 40th an­niver­sary din­ner on Fri­day, he also likened blacks who al­lowed them­selves to front for white com­pa­nies to hav­ing “as­sumed the more nu­anced and more so­phis­ti­cated role of some of their home­land lead­ers of the past”.

Mo­go­eng said he had ex­pe­ri­enced the favour­ing of white lawyers in all courts he had presided over, from the high court to the Labour Ap­peal Court and now the Con­sti­tu­tional Court. He said trans­for­ma­tion would not be achieved as long as those who were em­pow­ered for­got those need­ing em­pow­er­ment.

“I see who the par­ties [in courts] are and who they give work to. I do not mean to em­bar­rass any­body, but state-sub­sidised in­sti­tu­tions, gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, black peo­ple who have money gen­er­ally – when they give work to at­tor­neys and ad­vo­cates, it is to white com­pa­tri­ots. If you think I am ex­ag­ger­at­ing, come to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court; I will open the books for you,” Mo­go­eng said to the ap­plause of 950 guests.

“How then do you trans­form when you for­get that in the process of be­ing em­pow­ered, you must em­power the pre­vi­ously dis­ad­van­taged?

“Be­lieve you me, even po­lit­i­cal par­ties – the ma­jor­ity, the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of whom are black peo­ple – you must see who they give work to.”

He chal­lenged the au­di­ence to do some­thing about na­tion-build­ing and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.

“Let it not be around the right-sound­ing words that we speak. The time for sound bites is gone.

“This is the time for a re­al­ity check. Your com­mit­ment to trans­for­ma­tion be­gins at your work­place, be­gins with your neigh­bours,” he said.

Mo­go­eng also took a swipe at whites, say­ing there was now a “con­scious and de­lib­er­ate bias against black peo­ple and women”.

He said blacks who al­lowed them­selves to be used as fronts for busi­ness to score big gov­ern­ment con­tracts were dis­tort­ing the gains of black eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment. “When you front or al­low your­self to be an ob­ject of fronting ... know that you are a traitor. This thing has gone on for a long time and it hurts me.”

Turn­ing to the land ques­tion, Mo­go­eng said thought lead­ers such as this forum should come up with so­lu­tions. “Let us find ef­fec­tive ways, ef­fec­tive strate­gies, prac­ti­cal so­lu­tions to the land is­sue. It is a thorny is­sue. It is an emo­tive is­sue. It is a very, very se­ri­ous is­sue.” He said the so­lu­tion to the land is­sue lay with all South Africans. “The time for spin doc­tor­ing over the land is­sue is gone. “To say that there is a lot of land in the hands of gov­ern­ment that can be dis­trib­uted is spin doc­tor­ing that can only go so far in ad­dress­ing the harms and suf­fer­ing South Africans have had over the land is­sue.”

Mo­go­eng said it was good that many blacks wanted to be in man­age­ment po­si­tions, but asked what they were do­ing to be­come busi­ness own­ers.

“What strate­gies are in place for you to be an em­ployer of labour, for you to be a fa­cil­i­ta­tor of un­bundling eq­uity?” he asked.

He said blacks could not bring real in­flu­ence un­til they “grad­u­ate from feed­ing on the crumbs of the econ­omy and pierce through the cor­po­rate veil that has been deny­ing them the op­por­tu­nity to oc­cupy the com­mand­ing heights of the econ­omy”.

He urged the au­di­ence to give con­struc­tive crit­i­cism to gov­ern­ment and not be crit­i­cal or be heard “only when there is some­thing top­i­cal and ev­ery­body thinks it is fash­ion­able to be throw­ing stones”.

For real trans­for­ma­tion to take place, real com­mit­ment was needed, he added.

“Just how com­mit­ted are we? How much do we re­mem­ber what has hap­pened to us and how com­mit­ted are we to en­sur­ing we never let down those who suf­fered?” he asked.

“Not just so that we can vote, not just so that I can be­come chief jus­tice, not that you can be­come a man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, but so that even the lives of those who can­not speak for them­selves, those in vil­lages, can be positively im­pacted.”

Should gov­ern­ment use black lawyers to speed up trans­for­ma­tion?

SMS us on 35697 us­ing the key­word LAWYER and tell us what you think. Please in­clude your name and prov­ince. SMSes cost R1.50

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