The wish list: nom­i­na­tion de­clined

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

NOMBONISO GASA Her his­tory as an ac­tivist goes back to when she was a teenager, and first de­tained with­out trial at the age of 14. Since then Gasa, who has an im­me­di­ate as­so­ci­a­tion for many South Africans with a range of po­lit­i­cal and cul­tural is­sues, has been a soft-spo­ken yet fiery spokes­woman for con­tin­u­ing lib­er­a­tion.

In a rare mis­step on points of gen­der, the EFF was em­bar­rassed by a tweet on the Twit­ter han­dle @ef­fw­cape last year when its op­er­a­tor ridiculed Gasa’s rape on Robben Is­land in 1997. That ex­pe­ri­ence, which scarred her life, was never re­solved after po­lice closed the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. PREGS GOVENDER A life­long ac­tivist, she started her for­mal ca­reer in pol­i­tics and so­cial jus­tice when she was ap­pointed an ANC MP. More re­cently, she has been the deputy chair­woman of the South African Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion, al­though it is an im­por­tant view that, had she been chair in­stead of Lawrence Mush­wana, the SAHRC would have achieved far more in the past seven years.

A stand-out can­di­date for truth, Govender re­signed as MP in 2002 after reg­is­ter­ing her op­po­si­tion to the arms deal in the De­fence Bud­get vote in 2001. Her con­cern then, as it is now, was that the bud­get rather needed to ad­dress the ter­ri­fy­ing im­pact of HIV/ Aids on women and girls. Shock­ing as it re­mains, she was the only MP at the time to take her leave of Par­lia­ment for this rea­son. YVONNE MOKGORO A for­mer jus­tice of the Con­sti­tu­tional Court, ap­pointed to the Bench in 1994 by Nel­son Man­dela, she has never lost her taste for hu­man rights is­sues. A board mem­ber of the Cen­tre for Hu­man Rights at the Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria and the cur­rent chair­woman of the South African Law Re­form Com­mis­sion, she’s been given many awards for her achieve­ments, in­clud­ing the Hu­man Rights Award by the Black Lawyers As­so­ci­a­tion and the James Wil­son Award by the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia Law School, one of her alma maters.

Warm, ap­proach­able and honourable, Mokgoro has many fans who be­lieve she has the qual­i­ties needed in a pub­lic pro­tec­tor. DIKGANG MOSENEKE It’s an in­jus­tice that Moseneke, the for­mer deputy Chief Jus­tice, is not on this list, for the sim­ple fact that he is one of the great­est South Africans our democ­racy has seen.

After suf­fer­ing har­row­ing pun­ish­ment at the hands of the apartheid regime while still a teenager, it was 10 years after he was called to the Bar, that he served on the tech­ni­cal com­mit­tee that drafted the in­terim con­sti­tu­tion.

A year later, in 1994, he was ap­pointed deputy chair­man of the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion, which con­ducted the first free and fair demo­cratic elec­tions.

Twice passed over for the po­si­tion of Chief Jus­tice, Moseneke’s in­de­pen­dence – in par­tic­u­lar his crit­i­cism of the pow­ers af­forded to the pres­i­dent – has per­haps stood in the way of others’ am­bi­tion, but been a shin­ing light for the coun­try. DUMISA NTSEBEZA The top le­gal mind has be­come one of the great­est pro­tag­o­nists of hu­man rights in South African his­tory.

Per­haps only com­ing to the at­ten­tion of many last year when he as­tutely laid bare the short­com­ings of the Far­lam Com­mis­sion of In­quiry into the Marikana mas­sacre, he has, nonethe­less, been a torch­bearer for what is right for decades.

A prom­i­nent fig­ure within the lead­er­ship of the Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion, the for­mer teacher, and thorn in the side of the apartheid regime, is a per­sis­tent re­minder to gov­ern­ment klep­to­crats that jus­tice can, and will al­ways be served.

Ru­mour had it that Ja­cob Zuma wanted him to be the NDPP, but that he turned down the op­por­tu­nity, in­stead choos­ing to re­main his own man.

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