Business Day

JSC backs only male candidate for top post


THE Judicial Service Commission (JSC) yesterday made the surprise announceme­nt that it had recommende­d the only male candidate, Judge Aubrey Ledwaba, as deputy judge president of the North Gauteng High Court.

The JSC has, for some time, been vocal about its commitment to ensuring that more women are appointed judges. There are only two women who hold leadership positions in the judiciary, North West Judge President Monica Leeuw and Western Cape Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso.

In this round, it was widely expected that one of the two women candidates, judges Lettie MolopaSeth­osa or Cynthia Pretorius, would be chosen.

The commission did not give reasons for its decisions.

But JSC spokesmen Dumisa Ntsebeza SC and CP Fourie said the commission did consider section 174(2) of the constituti­on, which required it to consider the need for the judiciary to broadly reflect the country’s demographi­cs.

There was no “set formula” for the JSC to apply this principle and it was not an “exact calculatio­n”, Mr Fourie added.

Judge Ledwaba is the longestser­ving of the three, but only by a year. During his interview he told the commission that it was important for women to be promoted to leadership positions in the judiciary.

Speaking about the challenges SA’s busiest court faced, he said the waiting time for a civil trial was between 12 and 13 months.

But with proper case management, this could be reduced to eight months, though getting to that point could take between two and three years.

There were already 2,000 cases that needed to be set down.

Judge Ledwaba insisted that he was against a “horses for courses” approach to allocating cases. This entailed allowing judges only to adjudicate in their particular areas of expertise or preference.

When it came to high-profile, sensitive or political cases, it was important to allocate a judge according to what would give confidence to the community, he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa