Lady Justice and the road to equality

14 Jul 2015 - 10:15

An all-female list of candidates means that the next judge to be appointed to the Constitutional Court will be a woman – a positive and symbolic step.

By Tabeth Masengu

History in the making? A coup for activists of gender transformation? An opportunity to see some of South Africa’s finest jurists? These and many other questions will plague many of us when the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) interviews its four candidates, all women, for the Constitutional Court vacancy that was left by Justice Thembile Skweyiya when he retired in May last year. Judges Leona Theron, Zukisa Tshiqi and Nonkosi Mhlantla of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), and Judge Dhaya Pillay of the KwaZulu-Natal High Court are
vying for the position in the highest court in the land.

Last year, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng was quoted as saying the JSC would take some time “before advertising the post left vacant ... This was so that the  JSC would be spoilt for choice.” Admittedly, four candidates (the bare minimum required) for one Constitutional Court vacancy is not the long list he may have hoped for, but this is the first time the JSC will be presented with an all-female list for
such a position. The last interviews for the same court in 2013 featured an all-male list and, before that, the 2012 interviews had only one woman on the four-person list in 2012.

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