Apartheid warped thinking entrenched, in celebrating our Constitutional Court judges!
In democratic South Africa 20 years after the destruction of apartheid it appears our Constitutional Court is celebrated in crafted personalities of the late Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson as the maximum personality, followed by a Judge Edwin Cameron. Between these two a gulf of distinguished highly professional and morally sound ‘black’ Judges of the Constitutional Court are deliberately and constantly overlooked as the meridian of our justice system in democracy, in convenience or is it in apartheid ideologically entrenched paradigms.
We have had the late Justice Pius Langa and the retired Justice Ngcobo yet these are seldom if ever celebrated with the same energy by our media as the aforementioned.
In fact the media has nothing good to say about the current Chief Justice Mogoeng (who does phenomenal transformative trailblazing work but is never honoured) who no different to Justice Cameron proved brave to share their personal convictions on subject themes and matters of great conflict.
Justice Cameron did so on being a proud ‘white’ homosexual and for living with HIV, he is adored for being that bold and has become the face of a certain lobby group that enjoys a very friendly media.
Yet Chief Justice Mogoeng is abhorred for being a professing Christian and upholding the Biblical standards for his personal life and convictions.
It is comfortably and conveniently assumed that Chief Justice Mogoeng poses a threat to judicial independence in seeing religion as relevant in having function and content in our democratic society as we collectively search for answers for our multi-faceted moral dilemmas.
Yet it is not assumed that a Judge Edwin Cameron for his own convictions on for example homosexuality or HIV etc., even his confirmed views of corruption as our number one challenge as government lack of leadership centred problem can pose any threat for democracy. His comments on what plagues our society is not considered a plausible as polarizing our society as a Judge of the Constitutional Court.
I’m dealing with the ambivalence in media and so-called intellectuals thinking that often manifests in our stereotypes from an apartheid history.
Again I shall ask, is the late Arthur Chaskalson and the ever present Edwin Cameron the natural maximum symbol(s) of justice and being a judge? If so why is the same adoration, respect and honour not equally afforded to Justices Langa and Ngcobo, in fact not even the Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke is this celebrated by the media. They were quick to pass him off as the right candidate when the President had to apply his mind in appointing a Chief Justice, yet they hardly profile this brilliant mind who has also a personal liberation role and history.
Our other Constitutional Court Judges are seldom afforded the same honour, dignity publicity and attention in introducing us to this critical aspect exemplifying our constitutional democracy.
Are we being socially engineered in typical apartheid embrace to honour the “white” man for the excellence of our jurisprudence and epistemology on freedom in Constitutional Court embrace?
Every time you turn on SAFM like Monday the June 30, 2014 again on Ashraf Garda’s PERSON in the SPOTLIGHT show, Justice Cameron is being profiled as the epitome of our Constitutional Court. We can only speculate that this has an undertone of selling the Judge’s book. Please don’t misread this as any attack on the astute judges it is our media I am after who feeds this sick idea of “white males “defining our justice system as honourable at the expense of equally great “black” jurists that serve in the CONCOURT.
I listen to Justice Cameron when he is asked what is the number one thing he believes needs addressing, he says CORRUPTION, he believes there is leadership needed to deal with this, and he even goes as far as saying that is what he will tell the President if he has opportunity to meet with him.
Clearly Judge Cameron has his own entitled views, yet it is interesting that he concludes despite the many challenges in SA that corruption which we must accept is understood as government centred in judgment is the number one challenge.
If Cameron is owed a debt in victimhood different to other serving judges we need to know who incurred this debt? If Cameron is upheld as the meridian of being a justice distinct from others in the same constitutional court we equally must ask for what reasons? If Cameron is in our face unlike other constitutional court judges in public embrace we must ask again what lobby determines this and for what agenda?
If Chaskalson is the meridian over a Langa, Ngcobo and a Mogoeng we must know why and for what obvious evasive reasons.
Are we to deduce we SA owe a debt to people like Chaskalson and Cameron that we do not owe, Langa, Ngcobo, Moseneke or Mogoeng, Japhta or any of the former and current justices that define our Constitutional Court as a functional institution. I say let us celebrate all our Constitutional Court judges with the same honour and respect, and stop advocating a justice system that only is sensible and defensible in custodianship of ‘white’ male and pale constituency.
Let the media stop playing these games of apartheid making, in which we are deceived to think ‘black’ Constitutional Court Judges are second class judges that can never define the Constitutional Court as a functional institutional of a democratic South Africa.
Clyde N.S. Ramalaine
Independent observer, Analyst, Management Consultant
Founder of The Thinking Masses