Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has called for the elevation of skilled and qualified women in the judiciary system.

He was addressing the 15th conference of the South African Chapter of the International Association of women judges at the University of Mpumalanga in Mbombela.

The plan is to empower female judges to better deliver on their responsibilities. The Chief Justice encouraged them to serve the public diligently.

Mogoeng says he also wants the Judiciary Service Commission to ensure that they are adequately skilled.

“Judges had to subject them to a rigorous programme of ensuring that they get ready for appoint-ability when vacancies arise, because you can’t just appoint a person to a position of higher responsibility because she is a woman. It’s important that you don’t set them up for failure.”

The Chief Justice encouraged judges to consult with relevant law practitioners before giving bail, especially in rape and gender-based violence cases.

“The responsibility of all of us as men and women is to interrogate issues around cases involving sexual abuse and gender-based violence. I think we have a responsibility to educate the nation about how the law works. I will never say that rapists must be given bail, but we need to educate the nation about the purpose of bail. Bail doesn’t serve the purpose of punishment, it’s not a question of you are already guilty why are you outside, but some of them of course deserve to be locked up.”

His office is in the process of establishing debrief centres for judges who handle traumatic cases.

The Chief Justice says lack of transformation in the judiciary system is as a result of self-serving leaders.

He says they make it difficult for women to rise to leadership.

Meanwhile, Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane spent her Women’s Day marching against gender based violence and the killing of people living with albinism.

‘We want to make a mark that enough is enough!. The abuse of women and children is not acceptable in our society and the killing of people living with albinism.’

Women are being encouraged to proactively fight social ills, all year round.

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