LETTER: David Unterhalter on trial for past affiliation
Would Isie Maisels, who served as president of the SA Board of Jewish Deputies, have been able to serve as an apex court judge?
Michael Fridjhon’s letter (“David Unterhalter was shamefully treated”, April 19) and Tony Leon’s article (“Country’s top lawyers given short shrift in judicial appointments”, April 19) refer, specifically the issue of David Unterhalter being overlooked because of his past affiliation to the SA Jewish Board of Deputies.
I hold no truck for the board. However, I believe given Unterhalter’s formidable credentials he would be in a position to make an outstanding contribution from the bench, so his nonappointment is very wrong.
There is an iconic photo from the lens of the late Alf Kumalo showing the late advocate Isie Maisels, hero of the 1956 treason trial, being carried shoulder-high after the conclusion of the trial. Future Rivonia treason trialist Andrew Mlangeni is to the right of Maisels, grinning. Amina Cachalia is at bottom left.
One hundred and fifty-six accused, 156 acquitted (including Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Albert Luthuli, Ahmed Kathrada, Joe Slovo, Helen Joseph and Amina and Yusuf Cachalia — a veritable who’s who of the struggle). That’s why everyone loved Maisels.
One of the trialists was Yusuf Dadoo, whose daughter is a member of the SA BDS Coalition. Maisels went on to serve as president of the SA Board of Jewish Deputies. I guess Maisels could not have served as a Constitutional Court judge in a democratic SA?
David P Kramer
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