War of words between judges acting in Makhubele tribunal

Suspended Gauteng High Court, Pretoria Judge Nana Makhubele. Picture: File

Suspended Gauteng High Court, Pretoria Judge Nana Makhubele. Picture: File

Published Feb 9, 2024


In an exchange of words between suspended Gauteng High Court, Pretoria Judge Nana Makhubele and leader of the Judicial Conduct Tribunal, she reminded the tribunal that she was also a judge and asked to be questioned as such.

This followed after tribunal president, retired KwaZulu-Natal Judge President Achmat Jappie, questioned Judge Makhubele yesterday on why she was still testifying and handing in documents pertaining to the misconduct complaint against her that Deputy Judge President Dunstan Mlambo made.

He claimed she never told him that she was chair of the then new interim Prasa board when she was appointed as a judge. Judge Makhubele was adamant that she did tell him.

“I thought we were done with the evidence of Judge Mlambo as we dealt with that yesterday (Wednesday),” Judge Jappie told her. He pointed out that she was now due to proceed to the second leg of the complaint against her regarding her time at Prasa.

It is alleged that during her time on the board at Prasa, she pushed through — contrary to the legal advice of her own legal affairs division — the settlement of claims for about R59 million with a set of companies in the Siyaya group.

Judge Makhubele was adamant that she had to hand in documents to show that her word should be accepted over that of Judge Mlambo as to whether or not she was both a judge and a member of the Prasa board at the time.

Judge Jappie then proceeded to sum up her evidence as on record and that of Judge Mlambo – which, in a nutshell, was that he only came to know of her Prasa board duties in January 2018, while she said he knew in December 2017 already.

At this point Judge Makhubele told Judge Jappie that she was “worried about his summary” of the facts, before she continued with her evidence regarding Judge Mlambo’s evidence against her.

Judge Jappie once again pointed out to her that this issue was earlier dealt with and that she had to move on to the second leg of the accusations against her. He also once again summed up the crux of the evidence as before the tribunal thus far.

Judge Makhubele also once again told him: “Yet again, I'm worried about your summary.”

While Judge Jappie tried to get a word in, Judge Makhubele kept on talking, to a point that Judge Seun Moshidi, who is also a member of the tribunal, interjected.

“Can we behave orderly,” he said, while Judge Makhubele was still talking. This prompted him to say “you're even disrupting now. Can we just allow each other to respond”. He said two people could not speak simultaneously during the proceedings.

Judge Makhubele apologised and said: “I am also a judge.” She said the manner in which fellow judges at the tribunal questioned her, should reflect this fact to the public.

She was told that many of the aspects relating to her word against that of Judge Mlambo, could be left for argument later during the proceedings. Following a few sighs from Judge Makhubele as she tried to proceed on this topic, Judge Jappie asked “what is there more to say”, and urged her to move on to the new topic of the day.

“We have your version. We have Judge Mlambo’s version,” he said in urging her to move on.

Judge Makhubele remarked that the witnesses who testified against her were earlier given six days “to speak about her”, while she anticipated that as she continued with her evidence, she would at one point again be told that her evidence was not relevant.

She then proceeded to testify about her role at Prasa and the allegations made against her by, among others, Prasa executive for legal, risk and compliance, Martha Ngoye.


Pretoria News

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