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Magistrate Mbulelo V Nqumse

Capacity: Magistrate
First appointed as magistrate: 1994  | Senior Magistrate: 2000
Gender: Male
Ethnicity: African
Date of Birth: March 1963
Qualifications: B.Proc (UFH) Adv. Dipl.(Labour Law)(UJ) Postgrad.Cert. (Criminal Justice (NMU)

Key Judgments:

Candidate Bio:

At his JSC interview in October 2021 Magistrate Mbulelo Nqumse was described by Gauteng Judge President Mlambo as a “technology whizz”

Mr Mbulelo Victor Nqumse started as a prosecutor in 1992 before being appointed as a magistrate in the Ngqushwa District in 1994. He started presiding over criminal matters before developing an interest in civil and family law.

Nqumse has served more than 20 years as a magistrate since his appointment and currently serves as a senior magistrate. In his ascension as a senior magistrate, he has committed to the transformation of the judiciary by contributing to the appointment of black magistrates, particularly black woman magistrates. He has also been involved in the training and mentoring of up-and-coming magistrates and presented several presentations for the betterment of magistrates in the area of civil law.

As a senior magistrate, he has served as chairperson of the misconduct hearings in the Magistrates’ Commission. For several terms, he has acted as an acting judge in the Eastern Cape High Court Division and the Gauteng High Court Division.

Nqumse presided over Horwitz v S, an appeal matter where the appellant was convicted in the Magistrate’s Court for crimen injuria and common assault. The appeal against the conviction of common assault was set aside. However, on crimen injuria, Nqumse dismissed the appeal. He found the appellant guilty of the offence, stating that the appellant’s words were unwarranted. He further noted the seriousness of racial attitudes that are deeply entrenched in society and pressed on the need for a register of offenders who commit such offences. He argues that the purpose will be to serve as a deterrent and as a reminder that those who harbour such regressive views show contempt to the progressive agenda envisioned by the Constitution.

Nqumse was born in George in the Western Cape in March 1963. He holds a B.Proc from the University of Fort Hare, an Advanced Diploma in Labour Law from the University of Johannesburg, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Criminal Justice from the Nelson Mandela University.

April 2022 Interview 

October 2021 Interview 

October 2021 Interview Synopsis

Magistrate Mbulelo Victor Nqumse is one of the few lucky magistrates to have spent the bulk of their careers adjudicating civil law cases. Although he describes it as “being thrown in the deep end” at the relative dawn of his career in the magistracy in 1999, he acknowledges that it sharpened his judicial skills. He now considers adjudicating civil cases his “forte”. This much was illustrated in the questioning by Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo at the beginning of Nqumse’s interview. Eastern Cape Judge President Selby Mbenenge took this point further by noting that Nqumse has dealt with over 300 civil law cases, including having written 25 opposed motion court judgments as acting judge in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng.

The sticking point in Nqumse’s interview came when he had to deal with objections from legal professional bodies as raised by Commissioner Doris Tshepe. The first concern related to Nqumse’s acceptance of the nomination by a practicing advocate who has previously criticized a political party involved in a case that came before Nqumse. Nqumse says the advocate’s views are his own and “it is difficult to force someone to change their views”. A second concern related to Nqumse’s track record as an acting judge, which the Black Lawyers’ Association said was too limited to have prepared him for judicial office. Nqumse says this concern was misplaced as the BLA had undercounted the number of judgments he has written, which he says have more than adequately prepared him. The final concern related to a series of costs orders Nqumse gave early in his career as an acting judge, one of which was reversed on appeal. Nqumse says he accepts the criticisms, but he has subsequently acted on several stints in both Gauteng and Eastern Cape.

Although Nqumse answered most questions adequately, he was unsuccessful in his interview. This is probably a reflection of how tough this October 2021 Eastern Cape round was (with at least four silks and a senior professor applying). This is a far cry from the Eastern Cape rounds of the past where some candidates were simply unappointable