The Magistrates Commission
About the Magistrates Commission
The Magistrates Commission is a statutory body established in terms of the Magistrates Act, No. 90 of 1993. The Commission is chaired by a judge, designated by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice.
The current Chairperson of the Magistrates Commission is Judge Aubrey Ledwaba. He is also the Deputy Judge President of the North Gauteng Division of the High Court in Pretoria.
The Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr John Jeffery, is also one of the Commissioners.
The objectives of the Commission are, amongst others, as follows:
- To promote continuous training of magistrates appointed in the Magistrates Courts [District and Regional Courts].
- To advise the Minister of Justice (currently Ronald Lamola) regarding the appointment of magistrates.
- To advise or to make recommendations to, or report to the Minister, any information for Parliament regarding any matter which is of interest for the independence in the dispensing of justice and the efficiency of the administration of justice in the Magistrates Courts.
- To carry out investigations and make recommendations to the Minister regarding the suspension and removal from office of magistrates.
Here is a list of the current members of the Magistrates Commission:
|1.||Justice AP Ledwaba (Chairperson of the Magistrates Commission)||DJP Gauteng Division of the High Court|
|2.||The Honourable Deputy Minister J Jeffery, MP||Deputy Minister: Department of Justice and Constitutional Development|
|3.||Mr MS Makamu||Regional Magistrate|
|4.||Mrs Z Mbalo||Regional Court President|
|5.||Mr DM Thulare||Chief Magistrate|
|6.||Mrs YP Sidlova||Chief Magistrate|
|7.||Ms G Tuck||Senior Magistrate|
|8.||Ms LE Raborife-Nchabeleng||Magistrate|
|9.||Adv CI Moosa||Advocate|
|10.||Adv K Ramaimela||Advocate|
|11.||Mr MN Mpya||Lecturer|
|12.||Dr G Moshoeu||Head of SAJEI|
|13.||Ms DE Dlakude, MP||National Assembly|
|14.||Mr QR Dyantyi, MP||National Assembly|
|15.||Mr W Horn, MP||National Assembly|
|16.||Mr GA Gardee, MP||National Assembly|
|17.||Mr YI Carrim, MP||National Council of Provinces|
|18.||Mr EM Mthethwa, MP||National Council of Provinces|
|19.||Mr MI Rayi, MP||National Council of Provinces|
|20.||Mr WAS Aucamp, MP||National Council of Provinces|
|21.||Ms N Jali||Attorney|
|22.||Ms MC Mahlatji||Attorney|
|23.||Prof NS Rembe||Professor in Law|
|24.||Ms PM Tengeni|
|25.||Adv S Baloyi||Advocate|
|26.||Mr MM Mokoena||Attorney|
|27.||Prof E Hurter||Professor in Law – UNISA|
The commissioners of the Magistrates Commission are all expected to be present when candidates are interviewed for positions in the magistrates’ courts. The commissioners also serve on various committees. You can see the current committees here: Committees of the Commission.
The Functions of Magistrates Commission
The functions of the Magistrates Commission, in order to achieve its objectives, are amongst others as follows:
- To carry out or cause to be carried out any investigation it deems necessary.
- To obtain access to official information or documents.
- To summon any person to appear before it for questioning or require from any person a written explanation in respect of any matter falling within the ambit of the Commission’s objectives.
Complaints Against Magistrates
Any conduct by a magistrate that is alleged to be improper may be reported to the Judicial Head of the Court wherein the magistrate concerned presides.
A complaint against a magistrate must be reported by means of a written declaration under oath or affirmation, specifying;
- the nature of the matter;
- the grounds on which an investigation is viewed necessary;
- the names of the magistrate, other persons involved and of any witnesses;
- the date and time of the incident(s), and
- all other relevant information known to the complainant.
If the complainant is of the view that his/her concerns have not been properly or adequately addressed by the Judicial Head of Court, the complainant may direct his/her complaint to the Secretary of the Magistrates Commission.
In terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act, No. 108 of 1996, the courts are independent and subject only to the Constitution and the law. The Magistrates Commission is therefore not empowered to interfere with the judicial discretion of a magistrate. An aggrieved party who is dissatisfied with a judgment, ruling or sentence may approach a court of higher jurisdiction for review or appeal.