Solidarity today welcomed the ruling of the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein against the Magistrate’s Commission and the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, among others. The ruling comes after the parties appealed against a previous ruling because a white acting magistrate, John Lawrence, resorted to court as his application for a permanent appointment was refused.
“This ruling of the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein gives the government and all its institutions a serious bloody nose. We are pleased by the outcome for Mr Lawrence who had to fight this battle to be allowed a permanent appointment and who was yet again challenged about it, and this purely based on the colour of his skin. It is absolutely ridiculous that the government and its institutions would stoop to this level simply because they have an aversion of a specific race,” says Solidarity’s Head of Legal Matters Anton van der Bijl.
According to the ruling, the weight of race may not be absolute and may not disregard other factors such as experience and qualifications. Judge Potterill also made the point that the court is concerned about the processes followed in compiling shortlists for positions in the courts and that candidates cannot be excluded solely on the grounds of race.
“It is gratifying to see that quota-driven appointments will not be tolerated by the courts as the general practice. It is Solidarity’s hope that the state will abide by the nuanced approach as prescribed by the courts. However, should the state turn to the Constitutional Court to pursue its race-obsessed agenda Solidarity will apply to join court proceedings as friend of the court to further oppose it in that court,” Van der Bijl concluded.
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