Editorial Courting trouble

The first opportunity to introduce substantial change to the Appellate Court presented itself this week as the Judicial Service Commission interviewed candidates for three vacancies in that decrepit institution. What do we find? That all the candidates are white males, and at least two are the subject of some considerable controversy. Mr Justice Kees van Dijkhorst has on his record the disgraceful decision to send the Delmas Treason Trialists (two of whom are now premiers) to prison in one of the worst decisions of the apartheid court. Mr Justice Pierre Olivier may have won respect for his Bill of Rights work in the Law Commission, but he demonstrated stone age views in a recent rape case.

The ignorance and prejudice reflected in Olivier’s views should disqualify him from the supreme court, let alone the Appellate Division.

Why there is so little public debate over the issue? Where are the protests against the lack of female and black candidates? Where are the gender rights pressure groups that should be highlighting Olivier’s record? Who is arguing whether Van Dijkhorst’s Delmas decision is outweighed by some of his better decisions?

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Nic Dawes Author
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