- Justice Minister Michael Masutha was shocked to discover an applicant for a position at the high court had never worked with a black female lawyer before
- The question came out during the interview
- The applicant, Elizabeth Law, said that she had never gone out of her way to invite black female lawyers to work with her
Justice Minister Michael Masutha interviewed applicants for a vacancy at the Durban High Court and learned with dismay that a white lawyer had never worked with a black counterpart before.
Elizabeth Law admitted that in her 23-year career she had never worked with another black female lawyer. Seven candidates had been shortlisted for two vacancies.
The question arose when commissioner Thandi Norman SC asked Law what her personal contribution to the legal profession was.
Law replied that she had mentored five people, four of them women and that she had an open door policy in the bar to discuss matters.
“Have you worked with any African females on any matter?” Norman asked.
She replied that she had not. Masutha was concerned about her answer.
“Are you telling me in 23 years‚ you have never had an opportunity‚ desire and so on to tag along a junior member of the bar who is African let alone an African woman. Was it a matter of choice that you preferred yourself not to work with those people‚” Masutha asked.
Law replied that she had not gone out of her way to ask people to join her on a case.
“My practice … has largely been a family law practice. I am not certain how many people want to be involved in that. I have not proactively gone out and invited them to join me in cases‚” Law said.
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