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Mr Mudunwazi Samuel Makamu

Capacity: Magistrate
Gender: Male
Ethnicity: African
Date of Birth: February 1958
Qualifications: Dip. Juris; B.Iuris; LLB (UniZulu); and LLM (UJ)

Key judgments:

  • S v Lebogang Mahlatsi CC152/2016
  • S v David Motswadire & Others CC31/2016
  • Molai MG v Pule Incorporated Case no 31533/2015

Candidate Bio:

The 64-year-old magistrate Mudunwazi Samuel Makamu was born in the rural village of Giyani.

His legal career started at the age of 22-years as a court interpreter, which position he held between 1980 until 1983. While a court interpreter magistrate Makamu was also the clerk of the court, revenue clerk and the clerk responsible for the registration of birth, death and estates.

Between 1984 and 1985 Makamu worked as the clerk responsible for registering and deregistering motor vehicles. While in this position Makamu was appointed as a district public prosecutor and the maintenance officer simultaneously.

Between 1985 and 1988 he was appointed as the regional court prosecutor. While a regional court prosecutor, Makamu commenced his career as an additional magistrate. Between 1996 and 2013 Makamu was appointed as a senior magistrate and was at the same time acting as a regional court magistrate until 2010.

From 2010 until 2013 Makamu was an aspirant regional court magistrate. In 2013 he was permanently appointed to the position of regional court magistrate, a position which he still occupies.

Makamu has acted as a judge of the high for a total of 36 terms since 2016 until 2022. During his acting stints he presided over various cases, including, criminal trials, civil trials, full bench appeals, full court appeals, bails appeal, reviews, petitions, admissions and mental patient orders. Makamu’s judgments deal extensively with the criminal law.

In the S v Lebogang Mahlatsi CC152/2016, Makamu had to determine whether Lebogang was guilty of premeditated murder. It was alleged that the accused shot and killed his girlfriend’s second boyfriend, and he was the first boyfriend. Lebogang vehemently denied that he was guilty of premeditate murder. Lebogang testified that he could not remember what happened on the day of the incident. This was his testimony although his girlfriend was a credible witness as she was present at the time of the murder. The State had a duty to prove Lebogang’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Although Makamu acknowledged that Lebogang does not have an onus to prove his innocence, his version was however not reasonably possibly true, and it is not probable. Makamu found the accused guilty of premeditated murder. In considering Lebogang’s mitigating circumstances Makamu referred to S v Banda and Others 1991 (2) SA 352 (BG) and emphasized that “what is necessary is that the court shall consider, and try to balance evenly, the nature and circumstances of the offense, the characteristic of the offender and his circumstances and the impact of the crime on the community, its welfare, and concerns.” It is in exercising this balance which led to Makamu finding Lebogang guilty as charged.

In S v David Motswadire and Others CC31/2016 Makamu had to deal with a criminal law matter. In this case five accused persons were charged with housebreaking with intent to rob and rape. The accused were also charged with robbery with aggravating circumstances, rape of two adults, a 15-year-old and a 6-year-old. The accused all pleaded not guilty.

Swabs were taken from all the complainants, the J88 medical examination reports were all admitted as correct. Makamu had to determine whether the accused were guilty as charged. Prior to making a decision, but subsequent to outlining evidence he made a very important comment relating to the handling of the evidence. He noted that the constable in the case “did a diligent job of collecting evidence, packaging it and making certain that it was safe guarded until set for analysis. There was serious attempt by accused 2 and 3 to discredit this handling of evidence and no fault could be found in the manner in which he collected evidence and safe guarded it.” Makamu went further to state that “[c]onstable Moremi and the team deal with exhibits in an impeccable professional manner.”

Based on the testimony of all the witnesses and the evidence presented in court, all the accused were found guilty as charged, except for the first accused. It was found that there was no evidence to show that the first accused participated in the rape of the victims. However, the first accused was found in possession of stolen property which links him to the crimes committed by the other accused persons. Therefore, the first accused was found guilty of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

This judgment highlights the importance of how DNA evidence is collected and safe guarded. Rape and other sexual violence are sadly prevalent in South Africa and such crimes must be adequately dealt with through the wheels of justice and for this to happen all role players must perform their duties accordingly.

Makamu’s extensive experience is not only attributable to him having presided over many disputes on the bench. He has actively held other roles as well. Makamu is the founding member of Judicial Officers Association of South Africa (JOASA) and he remained a member until 2019. He is also serving as the deputy chairperson of the Magistrates Commission and is a member of the appointments committee and ethics committee in the Magistrates Commission.

Makamu holds a Dip. Juris, B.Iuris and LLB all obtained from the University of Zululand. He also holds an LLM degree obtained from the University of Johannesburg.

October 2022 Interviews

October 2022 JSC interview of Mr Mudunwazi Samuel Makamu for a position on the Gauteng Division of the High Court. Mr Makamu‘s application was unsuccessful.