When a judge becomes the victim, what then becomes the refuge for the defenceless? “Yes‚ I have been a victim of racism. Yes‚ I have been a victim of sexism‚” Theron told the Judicial Services Commission‚ interviewing her for a Constitutional Court judge position.
Of the five candidates who are being interviewed for the position‚ she is the only woman.
Theron spoke of the “unsettling environment” she was met with at the SCA which left her feeling “inadequate”.
She recalled an incident where she asked a follow-up question by a legal counsel after a senior judge had presented a question. The senior judge‚ however‚ told the counsel to focus on the question he had asked and ignore what Theron had asked.
“It made me feel very small. It made me feel like I had done something stupid and silly‚” Theron told the JSC.
She was also disturbed that none of her colleagues had addressed the issue with her afterwards‚ saying that looking back‚ they probably sneered about the incident among themselves.
Theron said the environment was improving‚ although it was not where it would be.
She is just one of several candidates who have spoken of the racial divide which existed in the SCA.
On Monday‚ Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng expressed shock that issues at the SCA were only being revealed and spoken of now.
Earlier‚ the JSC interviewed another SCA judge‚ Boissie Mbha‚ who told the court that should there be a female candidate who was more or equally qualified than him‚ he would not argue against the female candidate being granted the position.
“Gender is a constitutional imperative. If there is a female candidate with better capability than me‚ I would have no problem with the candidate being given the position‚” he said.