To eradicate “racist, authoritarian, insular and repressive” practices the demographics of the judiciary need to change and legal reasoning (a rights-centred approach) must be applied, coupled with promotion of access to justice.   Judging is a skilled job requiring a “thorough understanding of the law and an ability to think and write clearly”.   The new Judicial Education Institute will enable more candidates to acquire the necessary knowledge and understanding of the law and the ability to analyse and evaluate facts and apply the law in working as judges under very difficult circumstances.

“Transformation of the judiciary thus requires a judicial mindset committed to promoting human rights and fostering access to justice, as well as a bench that is “broadly representative” of our nation’s demographics.   Loud complaints about the “untransformed judiciary” should be subjected to careful analysis: is the complaint one that the judgment is pro-executive and not rights based?   Is it that the court has not affirmed the principle of access to justice?   Or is it that the judgment is simply disliked, perhaps even because it is not pro-executive?”

On 7 March the Business Day published an important article by the ‘retired’ judge of the Constitutional Court, Professor Kate O’Regan, as part of a series on transformation supplied by the Centre for Development and Enterprise – Judiciary: Challenges in changing the face of the bench remain.   The extract above is taken from that article which needs to be studied by all South Africans who are concerned about the future of this country.