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Women judges needed at ConCourt, says Judge Molemela

Judge Mahube Betty Molemela was the third candidate to be interviewed by the JSC for the Constitutional Court position on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.Picture: JSC/Supplied

Judge Mahube Betty Molemela was the third candidate to be interviewed by the JSC for the Constitutional Court position on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.Picture: JSC/Supplied

Published Apr 5, 2022

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Johannesburg - As the interviews for vacant positions at the Constitutional Court continue, one of the candidates, Judge Mahube Betty Molemela, has raised concerns about the lack of “gender parity” in the judicial selection process.

After Molemela’s interview concluded, she asked Chief Justice Raymond Zondo for the opportunity to speak about section 174 of the Constitution, which states that considering how the judiciary reflected the demographics of South Africa, it should also be part of the judicial selection process.

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Molemela, who has been interviewed for the Apex court twice before, said it was a shame that there was still no gender parity at the Concourt.

She told the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) that there had never been a stage where the number of women at the Apex court matched the number of men.

While CJ Zondo welcomed her concerns, he also pointed out that only two women made themselves available for the possible appointment to the Concourt.

CJ Zondo said that this was concerning, and society as a whole needed to question why this was happening.

He further added that the Concourt currently, "doesn't have a single judge who is white", but while agreeing with Zondo, Molemela quipped back "but then at least one woman".

Molemela was appointed to the Free State High Court in 2008 and eventually led that division eight years later. She was also in the Appeal Court.

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Molemela was the second woman to be appointed Judge President of a provincial division after the North West’s Monica Leeuw.

She lectured at the University of Free State and is also a qualified estate agent and an expert in military law.

Judge Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane, who was also interviewed for a Concourt position twice before, told the JSC that acting at the Apex court in 2017 was one of the highlights of her career.

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Kathree-Setiloane obtained a BA and LLB from the then-University of Natal in 1991 and an LLM from Georgetown University in the United States in 1993. She worked as in-house counsel at the Legal Resource Centre’s Constitutional Litigation Unit, as an advocate at the Johannesburg Bar and as a lecturer at the University of the Western Cape and the University of Maryland Law School in the United States.

During her interview, Kathree-Setiloane stressed that customary law must be "consistent with the Constitution."

She said it was important for women to be educated about the legal implications of customary marriage and the rights available to them.

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The interviews continue.

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