Gauteng high court judge David Unterhalter. Picture: SUPPLIED
Gauteng high court judge David Unterhalter. Picture: SUPPLIED

The most recent unsuccessful bid by jurist extraordinaire David Unterhalter to get onto the shortlist of nominees for a place on the Constitutional Court has led to much hand-wringing and confusion (“Unterhalter’s exclusion puts JSC’s credibility in question,” October 7).

It has even taken aback commentators who have built their entire careers on centring race and racism, who are now urgently trying to devise ways of doing racial discrimination better. None of them appears to have realised that the problem is racial discrimination itself. Chasing will-o’-the-wisp demographic representativeness is precisely what leads to absurd outcomes like a star jurist being excluded a priori because of his race, religion or sex.

As the JSC interviews showed, the transformation agenda ensures that SA fails to use its talent pool effectively, while providing a convenient point of entry to individuals who lack the requisite skills. The effects of these policies are plainly visible in our public administration and state-owned enterprises. Race-based policies should be scrapped and replaced with merit-based appointments and a nonracial empowerment plan like the Institute of Race Relations’ empowerment for the economically disadvantaged.

John Endres
CEO-elect, IRR

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