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Black Lawyers Association says EFF’s Julius Malema fit to serve on Judicial Service Commission

EFF leader Julius Malema. (City Press)

  • The Black Lawyers Association said it no longer questions EFF leader Julius Malema’s fitness to serve on the Judicial Service Commission.
  • In October, the BLA raised concerns over Malema’s suitability for the office following statements on how some law firms, owned by black people, had lost cases for the party.
  • The about-turn comes after a meeting between the two organisations and a renewed promise to work towards transformation in the legal profession.

The Black Lawyers Association (BLA) has backtracked on concerns that EFF leader Julius Malema is unfit to serve on the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), following a meeting between the two organisations.

The JSC interviews candidates for judicial vacancies and makes recommendations for appointments to the Bench.

In October, the association questioned Malema’s fitness for the JSC after his response to criticism on social media of his use of white legal representatives, in an address outside the Randburg Magistrate’s Court.

At the time, BLA president Mashudu Kutama said the comments Malema made implied that black legal professionals lost cases and made the EFF look disorganised.

The comments also made black legal professionals appear incompetent, he added.

However, following a meeting between the BLA and EFF on Thursday, the association said it “does not question the EFF president’s fitness to be a Commissioner in the JSC”, according to a joint statement.

“After deliberations and sound reflection, the BLA accepts that EFF president Julius Malema never generalised black people as incompetent. The BLA does not doubt the EFF and its president’s commitment to the transformation of the legal profession, particularly increased briefings for black legal practitioners and promotion of black lawyers into serious responsibilities in the judiciary.

“Throughout his participation in the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), EFF president has been consistent and dependable on the transformation of the judiciary,” the statement said.

According to the statement, the incident was a “public misunderstanding” based on Malema’s statements that “specific law firms owned by black people have previously displayed signs of costly and compromising incompetence”.

According to the statement, the two organisations would be working together to promote the transformation of the legal profession.

“We will never be divided on side issues and we will together fight for the transformation of the legal profession and redress the imbalances of the past,” the statement said.

Malema and EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi are on trial for allegedly assaulting a police officer, Lieutenant Colonel Johannes Jacobus Venter, at Fourways Memorial Park cemetery during the funeral proceedings of struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on 14 April 2018.

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