Constitutional Hill

Newsflash: Edwin Cameron appointed to the Constitutional Court

I just received the following message from the Treatment Action Campaign:

The Treatment Action Campaign congratulates Justice Edwin Cameron on his appointment to the Constitutional Court.

Justice Edwin Cameron has been appointed to the Constitutional Court of South Africa by President Kgalema Mothlanthe. Edwin Cameron has been described as the best legal mind of his generation. His career as an anti-apartheid lawyer opposed forced removals, military conscription, unfair labour practices and censorship. Cameron was one of the first judges appointed by President Nelson Mandela and has built a substantive jurisprudence on equality, rights to social security, freedom of expression and the rights of rape survivors.

Justice Edwin Cameron is a gay man who lives openly with HIV/AIDS. His appointment to the highest court in our country is an affirmation of the Bill of Rights, the rule of law and non-racialism.

Justice Cameron replaces Justice Tholekile Madala whose term ended this year and has retired.

A good appointment. Four appointments to go. Thabo Mbeki must not be happy because Justice Cameron has been one of the first to speak out forcefully and bravely against his views on HIV/AIDS. And our first opennly gay man on the highest court. What a nice Christmas present.

  • khosi

    Firstly I do not trust anything that comes from the TAC. Those people are a mouthpiece and workhorses for big pharma.

    Secondly and personally, I think that TM was consulted and happily nodded. I say that because on matters of state, Monthlante seems to be walking with Mbeki on his side. Probably out of courtesy, but with him nonetheless.

    If he was not happy, it had nothing to do with AIDS and Camerons’ criticism of him. It could only be that maybe Mbeki may have prefered another ethnic African in that position. Simple look at all legal teams that represent him.

  • Clara

    “Mothlanthe” … “Monthlante” … it’s as well he won’t be president for
    much longer. What we need is someone whose name is easy to spell.
    I’m thinking “Zille”, “Lekota”, or maybe “Zuma”.

  • Katlego


  • Katlego

    clara your message is very colonialist and racist. easy is spell is a short hand for saying “european name” or a name that approximates that is some feature. Look this is South Africa, and in this country you names not from europe or approxiamable names such as duo or tri syllabic names with consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel as consonant is understood in a european country, and vowel is understood and expressed there. such names have their own orthography, and english orthography misrepresents them. absolutely.

    wake up, mothanthe

  • Clara

    Have you been drinking, Katlego?

  • ozoneblue

    Glad to see a judge that would be strong on the constitutional right of our tiny minority of gay people who want to get married (section 9).

    When do we see a constitutional judge strong on section’s 26, 27, 28 and 29 ? – those (according to SCOPE) “second generation” rights enshrined in the Freedom Charter and held so dear by the impoverished masses.

  • Garg Unzola

    Yeah, I hate those colonial names like Nelson, Jacob, Julius..

    Seems like a good appointment. Maybe Edwin Cameron could explain to Jacob Zuma how a shower does not cure Aids.

  • Katlego

    yes clara i was drunk

  • Tatera

    khosi // Dec 25, 2008 at 1:17 pm
    “Firstly I do not trust anything that comes from the TAC. Those people are a mouthpiece and workhorses for big pharma. ..”

    Khosi, I assume you are paid up member of the Flat Earth Society. If not, you need to join.

  • The Big Slipper

    LMAO @ Katlego!!! That was the best piece of non-sensical writing I’ve ever not understood!!! 😀

  • George Gildenhuys

    Prof, Judge Edwin Cameron is a good appointment to the CC, however, one point I read about recently is his majority judgement in the Fourie case (O’Regan’s minority judgement in the CC was quite similar), he wanted to change the reading of the Marriage Act right then and there, whereas the CC’s (Judge Sachs writing for the majority) majority judgement held that the constitutional principle regarding separation of powers should constrain courts from reading words into legislation and should rather leave it to the legislature.

    still a good appointment, just an interesting point.

  • Tatera

    Garg Unzola // Dec 26, 2008 at 1:25 pm
    “Yeah, I hate those colonial names like Nelson, Jacob, Julius. ….”.

    Yeah, nothing like our (Garg; Tatera) good old counter colonial names!

  • PAuL Brislin

    He deserves the job. Not beacause of his HIV=status or his sexual orientation. Unless it can be proven that gay men who are HIV positive have a slightly higher Legal IQ than their straight counterpart.

    Perhaps its hight time they got someone who is revolutionary in character…..someone like robert.

  • Gatkruiper


    People are glad about a gay bitch (with AIDS???!) being appointed to constitiutional court?

    sick bastards

  • Katlego

    I think something should be done against the comment of gatkruiper or gatkruiper itself. You gatkruiper is the person who is actually a sick bastard.

  • ozoneblue

    I agree, Katlego. Although I’m not in favor of censorship that comment is out of line.

  • Clara

    Katlego, ozone: remember not to feed the trolls.

  • Snowman

    Khosi (Dec 25, 2008 at 1:17 pm ) seems to have a good point there.

    Piere has thrown caution to the wind in believing the TAC’s media release and then publishing it.

    The TAC is remarkably clairvoyant as the President has not made an announcement yet.

  • Henri

    For once in its shameful existence the JSC made the right move.
    Cameron would lend prestige and lustre to an otherwise drab and dreary court.
    Luckily a lot of deadwood are set to retire in the next years…..

  • Spectator

    The TAC may be a little ahead of themselves but I’m sure most of us are hoping that they’re right. If this be error and upon them proved then the judicial has not ended on quite as high a note as I’d have liked.

    As for those who don’t like us homos, I’m sorry to disappoint you but we’re here to stay, even in the legal fraternity. {Gatkruiper gaan skommel of so iets}, sorry to be vulgar.Cameron JA’s (or J) legal mind is what we celebrate most. The fact that he’s homosexual and has HIV/AIDS is an affirmation of the judiciary’s committment to equality

  • Bongs

    Mouse, (hope you are enjoying your holiday!) your nemesis, Zaheer Omar, is on SAfm right now spitting his vile as usual!

  • Dumisani Mkhize

    This is a sneaky political gambit. UMsholozi and the ANC are effectively buying votes at the taxpayer’s expense.

  • Sne


    I hope that Judge Edwin Cameron was not appointed simply by virtue of his HIV status and his sexual orientation but based on merit and that the above considerations merely form part of the accessoceries that come with the package.


    I must also admit, devoid of feeding the trolls, that your comment was rather out of line. Maybe a courteous apology would undo the damage to your reputation to a certain limited extent…

  • ozoneblue

    Dumisani Mkhize

    What utter nonsense, Dumisani. The Jacob Zuma Trust Fund has been in existence since 1996 and has nothing to do with tax payer’s money.

    “The future of the fund, which has financially assisted thousands of poor children and orphans in Inkandla in northern KwaZulu-Natal to further their studies, hangs in the balance, said former deputy president Jacob Zuma.”

  • Dumisani Mkhize


    Did you miss the part where Radebe says the government had to join in because Zuma, unlike the government, had no financial muscle? Who gives the government financial muscle?

    I will not count what I was told by a friend that there was a lavish evening bash that lasted till the early hours of the morning at the marque for the VIP’s.

    So there.

  • Clara

    Surely no-one has a problem with JZ handing out sweets and school uniforms to the poor orphaned kiddies of Nkandla, and while it’s true that this might fall into the ‘electioneering’ category I don’t think that JZ has to do too much to garner votes in his home village. The ‘lavish evening bash’ is another matter entirely. There are far too many of these, and I would be severely vexed if my taxes were used for such occasions, which should be paid for out of ANC coffers.

    What’s even more outrageous is the R300,000,000-00 South African taxpayers’ money that was given to Mugabe for “poverty relief”. The least we should now ask for is proof that this money wasn’t misappropriated.

  • ozoneblue


    “Did you miss the part where Radebe says the government had to join in because Zuma, unlike the government, had no financial muscle?”

    That is a rather strange observation, for a “corrupt leader” in Africa not to have any “financial muscle” or at least one or two Swiss bank accounts :-) I’m sure that must be why the NPA is having so much trouble to put a case together against Zuma – lol.

    I was objecting to your cynical characterization of this event : when we know that Nkandla is Zuma’s hometown and has been involved in upliftment projects there since the mid nineties.

    The legal position of the Jacob Zuma Educational Trust Fund is also quite an interesting one. According to the Shaik judgement :

    “Jacob Zuma Education Trust, a Government RDP-started trust fund for the education of rural poor children and of which trust Zuma had been elected patron.” – i.e. it sounds like the JZETF is in fact a government RDP related project.

    If you read the Shaik judgment (,,2-7-1708_1718857,00.html ) you would also note that transfers between this JZETF account and Nelson Mandela and allegations of corruption against Zuma were also investigated.

    We should also not forget about the Saab “donations” to the Nelson Mandela Children’s fund as initially exposed by Patricia De Lille.

  • Clara

    Sne: my “reputation”? Hahaha, that’s a good one. Which of my comments was the one that offended you, and to whom should I apologize?

    Hêppie Nuwejaar, everybody.

  • Lesbian and Gay Equality Project

    1 January 2009


    The South African Lesbian and Gay Equality Project (LGEP), formerly known as the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality (NCGLE), greatly welcomes the appointment of Justice Edwin Cameron to the Constitutional Court, South Africa’s highest court.

    This follows an announcement by President Kgalema Motlanthe this morning that he has chosen Judge Cameron to hold the vacant seat at the Constitutional Court from this year. This announcement followed a long and difficult process to choose the candidate. The President had to select among four distinguished legal minds.

    Judge Cameron, the first openly gay and HIV positive person to hold one of the seats in our country’s highest court, now becomes worldwide the first person to hold such a position in the highest court of any country. He was among the few lawyers who defended anti-apartheid activists against the old regime and he is known for his criticism of the SA government on HIV/AIDS policies. Judge Cameron also set the legal strategy for the country’s constitutional and legal reform on the rights of lesbian and gay people.

    The LGEP wishes Justice Cameron the best in his new post and is looking forward to his contributions into the implementation of our country’s Constitutional and legal promises of full equality, human dignity, freedom and justice for all.



    Phumi Mtetwa
    Executive Director
    Lesbian and Gay Equality Project
    36 Grafton Road (Corner Hopkins Str.); Yeoville
    P O Box 27811; Yeoville; 2143
    Tel: +27 11 487 3810/1
    Mobile: +27 72 795 9195
    Fax: +27 11 487 2332

    Working for social, economic and political transformation!

  • Peter Cole

    My personal experiences with HIV are similar in many respects to those that Edwin Cameron shares. That is just one of the reasons that he is an inspiration to me. I salute Judge Cameron on his appointment to the Constitutional Court Bench. We are privileged to be able to call you a true South African icon.

  • Pierre De Vos

    The fact that Edwin Cameron is gay and HIV positive does not in any way speak to his qualifications for the job of Constitutional Court justice. Nevertheless, it is important because of the symbolic nature of the appointment. The fact that an openly gay HIV positive man has been appointed to the highest court does send a powerful message to all South Africans that in our democracy prejudice has no place. It affirms to all gay men and lesbians and all who live with HIV that they have equal dignity with all other South Africans and belong to the same nation as everyone else. For that reason, it is relevant to the evaluation of the appointment.

  • Gustav

    Prof de Vos,

    Four vacancies in the Constitutional Court must be filled within the next year. Who do you think the front runners are now? Maybe some of those justices that did not make the cut with the appointment of justice Cameron?

    Warm regards

  • Andy

    Andy Lindsay true hiv story wmv . please google , hiv tests do not test for hiv , its written in the test kit disclaimers which can be seen on the manufacturers websites.