JSC recommends suspension of ‘Senzo Meyiwa’ judge and another Gauteng judge for late judgments
At its meeting of 20 April 2023 the Judicial Service Commission resolved to advise President Ramaphosa to place Gauteng High Court Judges Tshifiwa Maumela and Nomonde Mngqibisa-Thusi on suspension pending a Judicial Conduct Tribunal into allegations of gross judicial misconduct.
The JSC’s resolution is based on a complaint of judicial misconduct laid by Gauteng High Court Judge President Dunstan Mlambo against his two judges. The Judicial Conduct Committee first dealt with the complaint and found that there was a prima facie (preliminary) case of judicial misconduct.
“The JSC decided that the failure to deliver the reserved judgments, if established, will prima facie indicate incapacity, gross incompetence or gross misconduct on the part of the Judges, taking into account the extent of the delay and the prejudice suffered by the parties, [Read the JSC statement announcing the suspension resolution].
Judge Maumela is famous for being the presiding judge for national football captain Senzo Meyiwa. He is accused of failing to deliver a series of judgments within a reasonable period defined in the Judicial Norms & Standards, some going back as far as 2018.
Similarly, Judge Mnqibisa-Thusi is also accused of failing to deliver a series of judgments within a reasonable time. Many of her judgments were delivered after 12 months of the cases being heard, which is in violation of the Judicial Norms and Standards, which require that civil judgments be delivered within 3 months of the hearing. In one case, Judge Mngqibisa-Thusi took 19 months to deliver judgment:
If found guilty of gross misconduct by the Tribunal, both judges may face either a hefty fine, remedial training, or be ordered to apologise to the litigants affected.
The JSC’s suspension recommendation will still need to be confirmed by the President. In the past, the president has never declined to confirm a suspension recommendation. There are currently 3 judges on suspension, including Judge President Hlophe, Judge Mushtak Parker, and Judge Nana Makhubele.
Before a judge goes on suspension, they are required to finish all outstanding work including any pending cases. In the case of Judge Maumela, he is likely to continue with the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial.