The Chief Justice of South Africa’s Judicial Service Commission Mogoeng Mogoeng has called on women to take on leadership roles in the judiciary.
According to the Chief Justice during the first day of interview for new judges, more needed to be done to fast-track gender transformation.
The first round of interviews was focused on positions for the Deputy Chief Justice and for a position at the Supreme Court of Appeal.
Mogoeng and other commissioners questioned the first interviewee, Constitutional Court Justice Raymond Zondo, the only candidate nominated to replace retired Deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke.
The panel focused on gender transformation and balance, and the challenges facing women in the legal fraternity.
President Jacob Zuma nominated Zondo. If chosen, he would replace current acting Deputy Chief Justice Bess Nkabinde, whose term ends in December.
Zondo said more women needed to be supported and nominated to positions in the courts.
“The reality was that a lot of black lawyers did not have a lot of knowledge on labour law. In order to know labour law, you need to be given labour law work and a lot of black, [female] lawyers were not given the work,” he said.
Mogoeng mentioned that one of the recommendations about Zondo commended his support for and promotion of women within the judiciary.
The International Association of Women Judges had applauded Zondo for bringing women, such as Judge Mandisa Maya – who was nominated for the post of SCA president – Bess Nkabinde and Sisi Khampepe, into the Labour Court and Labour Appeal Court.
In Cape Town, Zuma appointed advocates Thabani Masuku, Thandi Norman and Sifiso Msomi to the JSC. Zuma had initially expressed his intention to replace commissioners Dumisa Ntsebeza, SC, Ishmael Semenya, SC, and Andiswa Ndoni as early as March.
The JSC conducts interviews for judicial posts and makes recommendations for appointments to the president. If a nominee was not suitable, applications were opened again for more candidate nominations.
The JSC panel includes Mogoeng, EFF leader Julius Malema, ANC MP Thoko Didiza, and Public Service Minister Faith Muthambi.
The JSC convenes twice a year – in April and October – for one week to interview potential candidates for various positions within the judiciary.