The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) has noted media reports on the Commission on Gender Equality’s (CGE) draft report to the President regarding transformation in the judiciary.
The LSSA records that while we noted the advisory by The Presidency, we understand that this is not the final report by the CGE as the CGE is still awaiting responses from the complainant, respondents and those that it has shared the report with. The CGE will release the final report once all its internal processes are completed.
‘As an affected party we are, however, obliged to respond to reports to place matters in perspective,’ says LSSA Co-Chairperson Busani Mabunda. He adds: ‘The LSSA notes the grave concern expressed and acknowledges that this is a national critical issue which, if not properly addressed by all stakeholders, stands to perpetuate the status quo, which is not in line with our constitutional imperatives.’
While the LSSA awaits the final report from the CGE, at which stage it will be able to respond appropriately, the LSSA wishes to record the following:
- Judges for our Bench are sourced from both the advocates’ and attorneys’ professions.
- Traditionally there has been a bias in preferring advocates. However, this trend has been changed in that many attorneys are now appointed as judges.
- The LSSA has acknowledged the paucity of women in leadership and decision-making positions in the attorneys’ profession. In acknowledging this, the LSSA has taken and implemented a resolution that, in addition to the current nominated committee members, additional women attorneys have been appointed to all of its 35 specialist committees to ensure women in decision-making positions.
- Through its Legal Educational and Development division (LEAD), the LSSA launched an intensive workshop - ‘Significant Leadership Programme for Experienced Women Lawyers’ - in 2014, which was repeated this year and which is set to be an annual initiative. The objectives of the workshop are aimed at encouraging women lawyers to remain working in the legal profession especially in senior positions.
- The LSSA’s constituent members, the Black Lawyers Association and the National Association of Democratic Lawyers, have been participating actively in the democratisation process in terms of nominating and supporting the promotion of women lawyers.
‘All these efforts are made against the background of the general challenges which affect the advancement of women in professions both locally and internationally,’ says Mr Mabunda. He notes: ‘The LSSA will grapple seriously with this issue in an endeavour to seek practical solutions and will cooperate actively with the other stakeholders in this process.’
ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE CO-CHAIRPERSON OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF SOUTH AFRICA, BUSANI MABUNDA
by the Law Society of South Africa Communication Department
Tel: (012) 366 8800 or Website: www.LSSA.org.za