Lawyers want 'perverse' race and gender quotas to be declared unconstitutional

A quota row has hit the Cape Town legal fraternity after a black female advocate was denied a position on the Western Cape's Legal Practice Council (LPC) in favour of a coloured male advocate.

That's despite her receiving the greatest number of votes in the LPC elections.

The seat that she, on a democratic basis, would have acquired with 138 votes has been allocated to someone else, a coloured male who received only 30 votes.

Andrew Breitenbach, Chairperson - Cape Bar

Andrew Breitenbach, chairperson of the Cape Bar explains how the result came about.

The minister of justice and correctional services and the national LPC between them made regulations and rules prescribing the racial and gender composition of the provincial LPC.

Andrew Breitenbach, Chairperson - Cape Bar

The quotas for the Western Cape dictate that 50% of the advocate members of the provincial LPC must be male, 50% must be white, 50% must be black and 50% female.

Basically, if Advocate Mayosi had been declared elected there would be too many women on the council.

Andrew Breitenbach, Chairperson - Cape Bar

A high court application has been launched by the Cape Bar seeking to have the quotas declared discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Breitenbach says the Cape Bar supports "rational" affirmative action measures, but not where they produce "perverse" results.

The aim of these, essentially affirmative action measures, is to affirm and enhance the position of black, female people... white men in our profession continue to dominate in leadership positions.

Andrew Breitenbach, Chairperson - Cape Bar

The problem here is, the way these provisions have been framed is they impose a cap on the numbers of black and female members, which the unintended consequence that you have job reservation for white and male members - that can't be reconciled with transformation.

Andrew Breitenbach, Chairperson - Cape Bar

Listen to the full interview below:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Lawyers want 'perverse' race and gender quotas to be declared unconstitutional


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