An advocate who attempted more than once - unsuccessfully - to land a spot on the Bench, has finally been recommended for appointment.
Rean Strydom was one of 12 candidates who vied for vacancies on the Gauteng High Court Bench at the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
According to the Judges Matter website, the commission declined to appoint Strydom to the Bench during three previous attempts.
"During those interviews he demonstrated a disinclination to contribute to transformation within the legal fraternity with regard to briefing and mentoring black juniors, and a tone-deaf approach to race relations in the country," the website stated.
But in his interview on Thursday afternoon, Strydom managed to convince the commission to change its mind.
Strydom acted in the Mpumalanga and Gauteng high courts between 2011 and 2019.
During an acting stint in the High Court in Johannesburg, he found Mzameleni Cele guilty of two counts of murder, two of attempted murder, the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, and one charge of assault with the intention to cause grievous bodily harm. It emerged in court that Cele drank his victims' blood after he killed them.
During interviews this week, it was clear commissioners were concerned about transformation in the judiciary.
On Thursday afternoon, one of the candidates, advocate Avrielle Maier-Frawley, was asked if appointing her to the Bench would contribute to transformation.
"It would contribute to the gender representative issue, gender equality issue and also the gender diversity issue," she responded.
Maier-Frawley also told the commissioners that she experienced sexism during her career.
"Even when my career was prospering in the first 12 years of practice, I would face a situation where a client would say: 'You are too young, I hope you can handle the matter'," she said.
Some commissioners also quizzed candidates about their views on gender-based violence. A spate of incidents of gender-based violence swept through the country over the last few months.
One candidate, David Makhoba, said men and women needed to be educated about gender-based violence.
He said a "lot of work" needed to be done by politicians and churches, among others, to address challenges.
"On Thursday (October 3), I dealt with a matter whereby a 45-year-old raped an 11-year-old. It is bad out there... we, presiding officers, listen to this every day," he said.
The JSC recommended the following seven candidates to President Cyril Ramaphosa:
- Rean Strydom
- Moleboheng Mamorena Pascalina Mdalana-Mayisela
- Avrielle Maier-Frawley
- David Makhoba
- Shanaaz Christine Mia
- Marcus Lekgaloa Senyatsi
- Elmarie van der Schyff