Openly gay and HIV positive judge Edwin Cameron has been interviewed for the position of a Constitutional Court judge.

Cameron, who is one of four candidates for a position in the highest court in South Africa, was grilled on Monday by the Judicial Services Commission with a series of tough questions.

When asked if he had been out of line as a judge for being so public with his criticism of former president Mbeki’s stance on HIV and Aids, Cameron said that he could not keep silent on the “morally imperative” issue.

“I thought I was going to die at the end of 1997. I was desperately sick, but my life was given back to me [thanks to anti-retroviral treatment] and I felt that I had to speak up.”

He told the Commission however, that should he be appointed to the Constitutional Court, he would recuse himself from hearing cases that related to HIV and Aids.

President Kgalema Motlanthe will make the final decision on which nominees submitted by the Commission will be appointed as justices of the Constitutional Court.

Cameron, who is a judge in the Supreme Court of Appeal, is believed to be the only openly HIV positive person in public office in Africa.

He has co-authored a number of books, including Defiant Desire – Gay and Lesbian Lives in South Africa and as well as Witness to AID, in which he described coming to terms with living with HIV.

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