Judges' futures on the line after JSC recommends their suspensions
Johannesburg - Gauteng High Court Judge Nana Makhubele’s future on the bench hangs in the balance as President Cyril Ramaphosa has been requested to suspend her.
The suspension has been recommended to stay in place pending the findings of the Judicial Conduct Tribunal into allegations of impropriety against her.
She has been accused of abusing her position as chairperson of the then interim board of Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) to push for controversial and irregular payments of contractors.
On Wednesday, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) wrote to Ramaphosa recommending that he suspends both her and Western Cape High Court Judge Mushtak Parker until the finalisation of the complaints lodged before the commission against the two.
The allegations against Judge Makhubele relate to her tenure at the helm of Prasa from October 2017 to March 2018.
“In respect of Judge Makhubele, the JSC having considered the complaint, the submissions made by the parties and the recommendation made by the Judicial Conduct Committee (JCC), resolved to adopt the JCC’s recommendation and requested, in terms of section 19 of the Judicial Service Commission Act, 1994 (JSC Act), the Chief Justice to appoint a Judicial Conduct Tribunal to investigate and report on the complaint,” the JSC said.
In August, Judge Makhubele came under fire from the Zondo Commission over her continued stay at Prasa in 2018 despite having been given the nod to be a sitting judge. Judge Makhubela has denied being involved in any act of impropriety at Prasa.
Judge Parker stands accused by 10 judges of his own bench of giving conflicting versions in relation to his alleged assault by Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe.
“The JSC will, in terms of section 19(4) of the JSC Act, inform the president that it has requested the Chief Justice to appoint a tribunal. Furthermore, the JSC will advise the president that it would be desirable for the president to suspend Judge Parker in terms of section 177(3) of the Constitution pending the finalisation of the complaints,” the JSC said.
Acting presidential spokesperson Tyrone Seale said he was not immediately aware of the JSC correspondence.