n South African Law Journal - Gender transformation as a means of enhancing perceptions of impartiality on the bench - notes

Volume 133 Number 3
  • ISSN : 0258-2503


‘The SCA is intimidating to take clients to, when all you see is men. It gives you confidence to see women who look like you and are bright.’

These were the words of Lindi Nkosi-Thomas, Senior Counsel (‘SC’), at the Judicial Service Commission (‘JSC’) interviews for two positions on the Supreme Court of Appeal (‘SCA’), held on 14 April 2015 in Cape Town. Nambitha Dambuza J was the sole female candidate of the six candidates being interviewed. The importance of this was not lost on Nkosi-Thomas SC, whose statement highlighted an underestimated aspect of the transformation debate in regard to judicial appointments. The often polarising transformation discussion has been centred on race; particularly, the nonappointment of some white men in favour of black men (see Elsje Bonthuys ‘Gender and race in South African judicial appointments’ (2015) 23 Feminist Legal Studies 127 at 131 and Nomthandazo Ntlama ‘The transformation of the South African bench: A measure to weaken its capacity?’ Paper presented at the conference entitled ‘Twenty years of South African constitutionalism’, NewYork, 17 November 2014, available at http://www.nylslawreview.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2014/10/Ntlama.pdf, accessed on 20 March 2015). Gender transformation in the judiciary has garnered support in the last two years, but still fails to elicit even half as much attention as race does.

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