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Gauntlett confirms Concourt proposal

Cape Town - Cape Town advocate Jeremy Gauntlett confirmed on Sunday that he was to be nominated as a judge for the Constitutional Court (Concourt).

Among those who would nominate him this week were academic and Struggle activist Mamphela Ramphele and veteran lawyer Sir Sydney Kentridge, QC.

A professional misconduct complaint has been lodged against advocate Jeremy Gauntlett by lawyer Paul Ngobeni. Credit: INLSA

Earlier this month Gauntlett was snubbed by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for a position on the bench because he had a “short thread”, was “acerbic at times” and “there is doubt as to whether he is possessed of humility”.

The JSC said appointing two white males would “do violence” to the constitution.

On Sunday, Gauntlett said he had agreed to accept the nomination because it was his duty.

“Whether the JSC again, unanimously, describes me as a ‘fit and proper person’, but then by two votes, decides because I am a white male and ‘acerbic’, remains to be seen. What exactly is its legal duty will have to be established.”

In a question and answer column by Chris Barron of the Sunday Times, Gauntlett said the JSC had “introduced a new quality for judicial appointments: humility. The JSC itself has gone to great trouble to list required attributes for judges. This is not one of them and has not been applied to any other candidate. Unlike other candidates, I have not thought that God has called me to be a judge”.

Gauntlett said the constitution did not require national or regional demographics, but it required the JSC to strive to be representative.

“The first provision is quality, the second is to consider representivity. That must mean that on certain occasions you will put up two or three white people and on other occasions none at all,” he said in the column.

The JSC made its decision in closed-door deliberations last month, after interviewing eight candidates for five vacancies in the Western Cape High Court.

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