Under representation of women judges a concern: Zuma

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pretoria - While transformation in the judiciary continues, the under representation of women on the bench is of concern, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

Delivering his sixth State of the Nation Address (Sona) in Parliament, Zuma said that progress was being made in the transformation of the judiciary to reflect the race and gender demographics of the country.

“The Chief Justice of the Republic [Mogoeng Mogoeng] continues to champion and lead this transformation. Black judges (African, Indian and Coloured) now constitute 61% of all judges.            

“However, the acute under-representation of women on the bench remains of concern. Of the judicial establishment of 239 judges, only 76 are women,” said the President.

The challenge now was to transform the legal profession broadly in order to nourish the pool from which female judges can be appointed.

“The finalisation of the Legal Practice Bill will assist to broaden the pool from which potential judicial officers could be selected,” said Zuma.

The bill was approved by the National Assembly in November 2013.

The legislation will bring an end to the long tradition of self-regulation by the legal fraternity and will replace bar associations with a single council. – SAnews.gov.za