After reading the article “White men not side-lined as judges, says JSC (9th April) I was left wondering what criterion was required to be a judge?

An “unstable man suffering from a bipolar disorder who was riddled with job and debt problems”, this is how Thandi Maqubela recently described her husband Patrick Maqubela in the media. According to Thandi, the Acting Judge spent thousands on clothes and was involved in several marital affairs.

Since Mr Maqubela was an Acting Judge who had served as a legal advisor to South African Airways as well as a legal advisor to the Eastern Cape Premier, Mrs Maqubela told the court that her husband was supposed to have a “reasoning mind” however she had realized that he “was not yet stable”.

Beyond the polemics of race and transformation, I am of the opinion that a superior quality education, decades of relevant experience and relative personal moral values should be the primary deciding criterion. I believe that, even criminals who appear in front of a Judge, who has the capacity to remove freedom permanently, would prefer to be judged by a person of good character and calibre.

While I support the ideals of transformation I continue to believe that those who sit in judgement of others by choice of career should answer to a higher set of values than the people whom they judge. While politicians are under relentless public scrutiny those who mete out judgement must surely amount to more than colour and gender.  With regards to the general decaying values and the increasing levels of criminality, our society requires more than just transformation. In my opinion Judges with a superior quality of wisdom are sorely needed, those with a just an understanding of legal procedure and principal, having the correct colour is simply not enough.

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress

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