I am committed to the foundational values of the South African constitution, including those of human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms, the values of non-racialism and non-sexism, and the supremacy of the constitution and the rule of law. I am equally committed to the establishment and maintenance of an independent, impartial and excellent judiciary, which I understand to be a crucial vehicle for safeguarding those constitutional values, and the rights entrenched in the bill of rights.
It has been my honour and privilege to serve since September 2009 as one of the representatives of my profession on the Judicial Service Commission, where I have attempted to live out my commitment to the constitutional values, the judiciary and the bill of rights.
It has not been an easy road. It is inevitable that there would be differences of opinion and approach amongst such a disparate group of persons representing such diverse elements of our society. But the commission is a creature of the constitution, and the values and prescripts contained in the constitution and the law should serve to keep the commission and its activities within defined parameters.
Regrettably, the track record of the commission during the time in which I have served on it has been disturbing. The commission has repeatedly been involved in litigation regarding the manner in which the majority on the commission has directed its affairs. None of that litigation has ultimately met with success. The image of the commission has been tarnished in consequence.
Furthermore, during my time on the commission, it has left a trail of wasted forensic talent in its wake which would be remarkable in a society rich in human resources, and is unintelligible in a society such as ours in which, for reasons of our discriminatory history, such resources are scarce.
Intending no insult to many whom I leave out of this list, which would otherwise be far too long, I raise only the names Cachalia, Budlender, van der Linde, Paterson, Gauntlett and most recently Plasket, as examples of intellectual forensic excellence, steeped in the values of the constitution, all of whom have, during my term of office on the commission, been rejected by the commission for judicial promotion or appointment.