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'I know my race and gender are against me'

Robert Nugent hopes to serve in the ConCourt, but said he knows his race and gender are against him.

Chief Justice Mogoeg Mogoeng along with other members from the Judicial Service Commission interviewed candidates to occupy a seat in the Constitutional Court on 9 June 2012. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Judge Robert Nugent on Saturday told the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) that he plans to retire from the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) but is prepared to become a Constitutional Court judge.

The JSC is interviewing four candidates for a vacant post at the country's highest court before it sends its recommendation to President Jacob Zuma.

Nugent (64) withdrew as a candidate to occupy a seat in the Constitutional Court two years ago but said he is now willing to take up the post.

He said he plans to retire next year, after spending nearly 12 years as a judge at the SCA, but is willing to continue serving the law on a constitutional level for another five years.

The judge said he knows his race and gender are against him but believes his knowledge and experience in various fields in law make him an asset.

His 250 judgements are testament to what he is capable of, he added.

Earlier, Chief Justice Mogoeg Mogoeng and other commissioners interviewed Lebotsang Bosielo (54) and Mandisa Maya (48).

Bosielo said he had never appeared before a court on a constitutional matter but said he had written several judgements on such matters.

The current SCA judge said the judiciary could improve if time was spent on speeding up processes and improving skills and knowledge in the lower courts.

Meanwhile, Justice Maya told the commission she could offer diversity to the court, which currently has only two female judges.

She said she is a well-rounded candidate with appropriate qualifications for the job.

Justice Maya has been a judge for 13 years - serving in the SCA and as an acting judge in the highest court.

Judge Raymond Zondo (52), also an acting justice at the Constitutional Court, is also being considered for the post.

He was first interviewed for the same position two years ago and told the JSC he has since gained even more experience.

Chief Justice Mogoeng explained that Zondo's interview was shorter than the others because he provided the commission with a full transcript of his judgments and qualifications.