Nominated by the Black Lawyers Association in the Free State, Molitsoane has acted in the High Court in the Free State for three months in 2016 and one stint last year. During his acting stints he has appeared in the motion courts and has adjudicated criminal and criminal appeal matters. A reserved judgment dating back to November 2017 may cause some consternation among members of the JSC.
In sentencing a radiographer who had appealed a magistrates court’s ten-year minimum sentence after being found guilty of raping a patient with his fingers during a medical examination, Molitsoane found that “rape in any form is a heinous, despicable and reprehensible crime”.
Handing down judgement in 2016 Molitsoane quoted wide-ranging case-law, considered the age of the rapist, the fact that he was, until that point “a model student” and that he was supporting his two unemployed parents before reducing the sentence to seven years imprisonment with three years suspended for five years on condition that the appellant was not found guilty of a similar crime during that period. The order was also back-dated to 2014.
Of the two partly head matters in his High Court inbox, one involves the accused doing a disappearing act during the lunch break and before Molitsoane could hand down judgment.
Molitsoane completed his BProc from the University of Zululand in 1989. After serving articles he worked at various attorneys’ firms and was admitted as an attorney in 1995. He had acted in the magistrate’s court before his permanent appointment in 2008. Molitsoane worked as an investigator for the Independent Electoral Commission in the run-up to South Africa’s first democratic elections. He is a member of the Judicial Officers Association of South Africa and treasurer of its Free State branch. Molitsoane is, oddly, a member of the Dutch Reformed Church.
April 2018 Interview Synopsis:
On the final day of its sitting, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) sometimes resembles a high school on its final day before the big holiday break: people get giggly, perhaps high on the possibility of life outside the cabin feverish time spent in lock down for the week’s interviews; odd, even irrelevant, questions may be asked; the interviews get shorter and shorter and so on…
The commission spent most of magistrate Pitso Molitsoane’s interview asking him about the state of South Africa’s prisons — a subject not obviously linked to whether he would be able to adjudicate without fear and favour before deciding whether people should be sent to one of these overcrowded hell-holes.
Much time was spent canvassing Molitsoane’s opinion on whether the state’s rehabilitation programme for prisoners was adequate and served their purpose. Then Molitsoane got the job at the Free State High Court.