Female magistrates

More female magistrates to be appointed in SA. Image credit: Envato Element

Level playing field: More female magistrates to be appointed in SA

A win for gender transformation as 105 female magistrates are set to be appointed by the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services in South Africa.

Female magistrates

More female magistrates to be appointed in SA. Image credit: Envato Element

Justice Minister, Ronald Lamola promised to level the playing field and appoint more female magistrates. According to Cape Town etc, Lamola will appoint 207 new magistrates in February 2020 and of that, 105 will be women. This leaves the total number of female magistrates at 48% in the country. 

Joanne Joseph from the afternoon drive on station 702 said: “Women bring different perspectives, they might go through the same legal training but they do bring different perspectives. Sometimes they bring a certain kind of emotional intelligence that is not always present in the law.” 

Here’s why the decision was taken to appoint more female magistrates 

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development said on Tuesday 4 November that South Africa’s courts needed to reflect the country’s demographics by employing more female magistrates. 

Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development John Jeffery said the ministry is striving toward both race and gender transformation to ensure that the magistracy is more reflective of the demographics in South Africa. 

“Women are over half the population of South Africa, the magistracy and the judiciary need to reflect that,” said Jeffery. 

According to EWN, Spokesperson for the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, Chrispin Phiri said: “a fully transformed judiciary is a constitutional imperative. The new appointees will go a long way in further transforming our magistracy to reflect the demographics of our country.”

Female magistrates set to occupy their courts 

“The appointments will take effect from 1 February. The magistrates have to go for one month’s training and then they are sitting on their benches in their courts from 1 March,” said Jeffery. 

According to the department, there were 284 female magistrates countrywide in 1998. In June 2019, before the new magistrates were appointed, there were 758 female magistrates nationally.

“The new appointments which we are now making will further strengthen gender transformation, as more than half of the new incumbents are female, thus bringing the total number of female magistrates to 863 out of 1 803,” said Phiri. 

The process of appointing new magistrates 

Magistrates are appointed after a number of processes, including the shortlisting and interviewing of candidates.

Recommendations are made by the Magistrate’s Commission after the conclusion of the interviews. The recommendations are then submitted to the minister of justice for his consideration and appointment.

The department said shortlisted candidates for 249 posts and the interviews of 608 candidates took place from March to April this year. In September, the commission submitted its recommendations to Lamola.