Picture: Pixabay
Picture: Pixabay

Judge’s ’feminist’ directive on access to courtroom just an ’experiment’

By Bongani Nkosi Time of article published Oct 22, 2021

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Johannesburg – A feminist-leaning directive issued this week about access to a courtroom at the South Gauteng High Court was just an “experiment” by a judge.

Judiciary spokesperson Nathi Mncube told The Star yesterday that the directive Judge Gregory Charles Wright put up was intended to test staggered access to the courtroom.

The directive laden with modern feminism jargon said women and gender non-conforming lawyers and litigants would enter the civil courtroom hearing unopposed matters.

Men would have to wait for their turn to be called into the courtroom.

It said: “Only litigants in person and practitioners who are women and practitioners who identify as gender non-conforming may enter the courtroom.

“Men practitioners (are) to wait outside the courtroom until called in.”

The directive came at a time civil applications brought to the high court located in the Joburg CBD were heard virtually due to the Covid-19 spectre. Only criminal cases were heard in open court.

Judge Wright’s directive concerned 43 unopposed matters that were heard on Wednesday.

They included five applications that Bridge Taxi Finance brought against many individuals believed to be taxi owners. Taxi bosses falling behind on payments were often dragged to court for repossessions.

Another notable application in Judge Wright’s roll was brought by the City of Joburg against “those invading” land in Ivory Park, near Midrand.

Yesterday, Mncube would not be drawn to comment in extensive detail about the directive.

The Star asked him, among other things, whether the feminist-leaning directive would not be considered unnecessarily discriminatory.

In a terse reply, Mncube said Gauteng Deputy Judge President Roland Sutherland informed the office of the Chief Justice that the directive was meant to test if civil cases can return to open court.

“DJP Sutherland has advised that it was a once-off experiment conducted by Judge Wright on staggering access to the courtroom,” Mncube said.

He added that following the experiment, civil cases would continue to be heard virtually.

“Hearings will continue on virtual platforms going forward.”


The Star

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