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Ms Lokwalo Rose Mogwera

Capacity: Regional Magistrate (KwaZulu-Natal Regional Division)
First appointed as magistrate: 2000
Gender: Woman
Ethnicity: African
Date of Birth: February 1967
Qualifications: B.Juris (1990) (University of Bophuthatswana); LLB (2000) (NWU); LLM (2010) (Nelson Mandela University)

Key judgments:

  • Perumaul v Chetty (1157/13) [2021] ZAKZPHC 66 (21 September 2021)
  • Naysmith v Pick ‘n Pay Retailers (Pty) Ltd(AR 61/18) ZAKZPHC (
  • State v Sibusiso John Gcabashe (Case No. RC 685/2012) (KZN Regional Court)
  • Msabala v State (AR 262/21) ZAKZPHC


Candidate Biography (updated April 2024):

Regional Magistrate Lokwalo Rose Mogwera is a regional magistrate in the KwaZulu-Natal Regional Division.

When multi award-winning musician and self-proclaimed Maskandi music king Mqgumeni (real name Khulekani Mseleku) died from a sudden illness in December 2009, his family and scores of fans were naturally distraught. His memorial services and funeral at his hometown in Nquthu, KZN, last several days and was attended the glitz and glam of the entertainment, business, and political arenas.

However, in February 2012, news spread that Mgqumeni had risen from the dead hundreds of people flocked to the area of Eskhotheni, Nquthu, not far from Mqgqumeni’s family home. There was wall-to-wall news coverage, with news cameras wrestling to catch a glimpse of the resurrected Mgqumeni.

The former deceased’s two wives, who were living in Johannesburg and Durban respectively, also came down to witness the resurrection themselves. On their arrival they met a man who claimed to be Mgqumeni but looked nothing like their late husband. When they asked him basic questions about his identity, he simply could not answer. He also failed to show them the scars the knew their late husband to have.

After stringing them along for several days, and much to the emotional trauma of the two women, they eventually realized that this man – later found to be Sibusiso John Gcabashe – was a complete fraud. When he realized the jig was up, he fled. But not before committing several other crimes, including kidnapping, assaulting and raping another woman.

It fell on Regional Magistrate Lokwalo Rose Mogwera to try Gcabashe for all of these crimes in the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court. After going through the evidence, including the testimony of several witnesses, including Mgqumeni’s two wives and cousin. They all testified about the emotional trauma of hearing about their loved one being alive again, only to later learn that it was a fraudster, plus the financial costs of all of them travelling to Nquthu to see him.

For his part, Gcabashe denied that he had raped and assaulted the complainant as she made no protests to them having sexual intercourse. He also testified that he never claimed to be Khulekani Mseleku or ‘Mgqumeni’, and it was only social media user who publicized him as such, and he simply rode the wave.

Mogwera rejected Gcabashe’s version on the fraud charge as improbable and false. She found that Gcabashe was perfectly sane, based on a psychiatrist’s assessments. In addition, he had caused great prejudice to Mgqumeni’s relatives. Therefore she found him guilty of fraud and sentenced him to 7 years’ imprisonment for fraud, which, when coupled with the rape and assault charges, meant an effective sentence of 22 years in prison.

Magistrate Lokwalo Rose Mogwera’s legal career is the stuff of fairy tales: rising from being a court clerk at the Department of Justice to being a prosecutor, later presiding as a magistrate for nearly 20 years, and now standing on the cusp of elevation to the superior court bench.

However, a stumbling block stands in her way. The General Council of the Bar, in its review does not believe that she is ready to be appointed as a magistrate. They believe that she needs additional exposure to civil law work before she could be ready to preside in the superior courts.

Mogwera started her legal career as a clerk for the Department of Justice in the Old Parliament Building, Mmabatho, North West, from July 1989 to April 1990. She then worked as a legal admin for the Justice Department from 1990 until 1994. Following these roles, she worked as a prosecutor from 1995 until 1999.

Mogwera began work as a judicial officer Mogwera at the Port Elizabeth Magistrates Court in the Eastern Cape from January 2000 to June 2004. During her term, she presided in criminal, civil, and family court, gaining valuable experience on court procedures and substantive legal principles over diverse fields of law.

Mogwera was later elevated up the judicial ranks in 2004 as a regional magistrate in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court, KwaZulu-Natal, presiding over mainly criminal cases, although she’s had the odd civil cases to deal with it. In her application to the JSC she indicates that 98% of her work has been in the criminal courts. This puts her at a disadvantage for one who aspires to be appointed in the busy North West High Court division that also deals with African customary law, traditional leadership disputes, administrative law and mining.

Despite this, Mogwera has attended several judicial training workshops to boost her judicial skills. She has also provided training to traditional leaders on the application of human rights and constitutional principles during traditional court sitting. She has written some civil judgments on important areas of the law such as defamation.

Mogwera wrote the judgment in Perumal v Chetty, a defamation case. In this case, the Regional Court considered if the plaintiff, Chetty, is entitled to damages for an allegedly defamatory statement made in a misconduct complaint affidavit deposed to by the defendant, Perumal, and sent to the Natal Law Society. Perumal accused Chetty of “scamming… the people in the community,” and that she “preys on poor, uneducated people in their time of grief and they are losing property and families are breaking up because of the plaintiff’s influence.” Mogwera ultimately Perumal’s state was defamatory of Chetty, and held her liable to pay Chetty damages worth R70 000. One appeal, to a Full Bench of 2 judges of the KZN High Court, Mogwera’s judgment was upheld and the appeal was dismissed.

Mogwera has completed several stints as an acting judge in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court between 2009 and 2022. In this role, she adjudicated criminal, civil, and divorce cases.

Mogwera sat with now Judge President Thoba Poyo-Dlwati on an appeal from the regional court in a ‘slip and fall’ personal injury case where the plaintiff sued mega-retailer Pick n Pay for damages from her fall at PnP’s Liberty Mall store. The district magistrate had found, at the close of the plaintiff’s case, there was insufficient evidence to find PnP liable for the damages. However, on appeal in the High Court, Mogwera reversed the magistrate’s finding, and held that, looking at the totality of evidence presence, the was a plausible case that the defendant, PnP had to meet.

Mogwera’s April 2021 and October 2022 appearances before the Judicial Service Commission for a place on the Mpumalanga and North West High Court divisions did not go so well. She struggled to answer some basic legal questions on evictions law – a staple of the high court’s caseload. The General Council of the Bar criticizes her for this, and believes that she is not sufficient prepared for elevation to the super courts. It remains to be seen if she will be third term lucky.

April 2024 Interview

October 2022 Interview

October 2022 JSC interview of Ms Lokwalo Rose Mogwera for a position on the North West Division of the High Court. Ms Mogwera‘s application was unsuccessful.

April 2021 Interview: