Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela tribunal hearings postponed due to hospital admission

Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela at the Judicial Conduct Tribunal hearing regarding his fitness to hold office. Photo Supplied by RSAJudiciary/Twitter

Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela at the Judicial Conduct Tribunal hearing regarding his fitness to hold office. Photo Supplied by RSAJudiciary/Twitter

Published Mar 20, 2024


The Judicial Conduct Tribunal hearings looking into the conduct of suspended Pretoria High Court Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela have been postponed after he was admitted to hospital due to ill health.

The hearings, chaired by Retired Judge Chris Jafta, are scheduled to look into Judge Maumela’s failure to deliver numerous reserved judgments within a reasonable time. They kicked off on Monday and were scheduled to proceed until March 22.

Maumela had been suspended since June 2023 by President Cyril Ramaphosa alongside Judge Nomonde Mngqibisa-Thusi, who was taken to task for failure to deliver as many as 21 judgments.

Mngqibisa-Thusi’s hearings were held during December, however, they were held in-camera as the judge’s legal team raised concerns that if the hearing were to be held in public it would compromise the testimony of witnesses in her defence who were expected to talk about her personal problems.

As the proceedings were due to resume yesterday, Maumela’s legal team informed Judge Jafta that he had been admitted into hospital. They requested the proceedings be postponed to a date when he would be able to attend in person.

They indicated that they would also like to move an application to have proceedings to a date agreed upon.

The judge’s health also took centre stage in June 2023, after the Meyiwa murder trial which had been plagued by numerous postponements, experienced further delays after he was hospitalised.

Gauteng deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba reported at the time Maumela was not available due to ill health and may not be available for a long time subject depending on the diagnosis of his doctors.

During the first sitting of the tribunal on Monday, Judge President Dunstan Mlambo told the court how Maumela had not done much of the heavy lifting as compared to other judges throughout the years.

Mlambo shared how Maumela had a history of complaints against his delayed judgments even when he was stationed at the Thohoyandou High Court back in 2012.

He said he repeatedly advised litigants and advocates on a number of occasions to report the delayed judgments to JSC, but as many feared victimisation, he took the ‘bold’ decision to lodge the complaint himself.

Mlambo further revealed how he knew that Maumela was not fit to preside over the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial and believed he should not be given work that would overwhelm him.

In fact, the judge president told the tribunal hearing that Maumela was only meant to handle the pre-trial for the Meyiwa matter thereafter a suitable judge was to be appointed, however, he proceeded to hear the evidence.

“He was never meant to hear that matter from day one. He had demonstrated to me as the head of court that he was prone to be incompetent. That’s why I continue to say he’s made himself guilty of gross incompetence,“ Mlambo testified.

Judge Jafta set May 27 as a holding date for the hearings to proceed.

The Star

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