The DA is deeply disturbed by the selection process of Judicial Services Commission (JSC), as evidenced during the course of last week. We witnessed the emergence of a zealous desire to promote ‘racial essentialism’ in its selection process.
It became apparent during the hearings that white applicants were being not so subtly coerced into withdrawing their applications, in order to clear the path for black candidates of similar or equal ability. The implied insult that this approach contains to applicants of colour appears to have passed unnoticed. The suggestion that they could not ascend to the positions applied for unless the white candidates withdrew is in itself deeply offensive.
The DA is of the view that the upliftment of South Africa’s most vulnerable citizens is best served by the appointment of the most competent individuals at all times regardless of their race. With the Judiciary under sustained attack from various segments of society, we need the most competent judges to be appointed now more than ever.
We are also concerned about the message the racial criteria sends to young talented legal aspirants who may not fit into the desired racial composition which the JSC seeks to establish.
The DA believes that confidence in the judicial selection process would be improved by bringing deliberations on the choice of nominees out of the shadows through the provision of reasons for all selection choices.
The Judiciary should be a beacon of excellence in South Africa, where excellence should be valued above crude racial quotas. The behaviour of the JSC last week was a disgrace and deserves the condemnation it is currently receiving from civil society.
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