Justice Raymond Zondo urged to act against ‘racist’ advocate Rajesh Singh

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: File

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: File

Published Jul 26, 2022


Pretoria - The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) wants the chief director of legal services in the office of the Premier of Limpopo, advocate Rajesh Singh, barred from the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) over a racism spat.

The matter involves a message allegedly posted by Singh on a work WhatsApp group in June 2020 during the height of the lockdown.

It read “I can’t breathe” followed by three laughing emoticons.

“I can’t breathe” was a hashtag for Black Lives Matter, a campaign against racism following the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 at the hands of a white police man Thomas Lane in the US. Floyd died on the spot.

The incident was recorded on a video and sparked widespread condemnation and triggered the black lives matter protests over racial injustice in policing.

A complainant who works under Singh in the legal division of Premier Stan Mathabatha’s office has since written to Chief Justice Raymond Zondo asking that Singh be barred from the JSC.

Speaking to Pretoria News yesterday, the complainant, who requested to be anonymous for fear of victimisation, said Singh was evidently racist on the post and was supposed to have been dismissed by Mathabatha.

She said: “This is about a racist post in our work WhatsApp group where I lodged a grievance about it and the outcome of the grievance was that he should get a final written warning for it, which was inadequate.

“There was also an insinuation from him that black people want to be white. Public institutions like this have a senior person who is racist and the institution is not dealing with it, which makes it part and parcel of the institution.

“Our Constitution is clear that the only compensation for racism is dismissal. What legacy are we as South Africans leaving if we are refusing to deal with stuff like this? It’s purely racist.”

She said she had even opted for early pension because of the matter.

In a letter to Justice Zondo dated July 22, Nehawu Samson Magomane branch asked him to immediately suspend Singh.

The letter, penned by branch secretary Ndivhuwo Madzusa, states: “The office of the premier has found that advocate Singh has passed on/forwarded the post commenting about racism or making racist comments against native blacks and that he immediately accepted the fault, deleted and apologised to the WhatsApp group where the comments were made. And thus concluding he be given a written warning as he is expected to (do) better as a chief director of legal services.

“We find it disturbing that a person of advocate Singh’s stature could be involved in a racial crime as per the findings that it should be him who should advocate for non-racialism.

“Without constituting a disciplinary inquiry, the office of the premier only arranged to give the advocate a written warning which according to information in our disposal he refused to accept.

“We request yourselves to immediately suspend advocate Singh’s participation in the activities of the JSC.”

Contacted for comment, spokesperson for the office of the premier Ndavhe Ramakuela said: “I am still waiting for some confirmation.”

Pretoria News