Judge’s ‘racism’ to be probed

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THE racism allegation against judge Mabel Jansen will be investigated by the Judicial Conduct Tribunal.

This week the judicial conduct committee of the Judicial Service Commission has recommended that a tribunal investigate complaints of racism against judge Jansen.

She faces impeachment should she be found guilty of gross misconduct. Acting chairperson of the committee judge Bess Nkabinde said Jansen’s statements suggested she might harbour certain preconceived biases and, potentially at least, might not be able to bring an open and impartial mind to bear when determining matters that came before her involving a particular sector of the society.

Given our unique history as a country, the conduct of judge Jansen, whether in fact biased or not, appears to have led to the perception that she lacks impartiality, a perception that does little to enhance public trust, respect for and confidence in the judiciary.

Conduct such as hers, if left unchecked, has the potential to bring the administration of justice into disrepute and tarnish the image of the judiciary,” Nkabinde said. According to the committee, Jansen doesn’t deny having made the statement attributed to her.

In her submission, Jansen claimed her utterances were made in an emotional state, generated by the specific cases she had to deal with. She acknowledged that the statements were published in a public forum and had caused tremendous and unjustified hurt for which she was profoundly sorry.

Jansen shot to notoriety in May last year after journalist Gillian Schutte posted excerpts of an old exchange she had with Jansen on Facebook.

Jansen wrote of black people: “In their culture a woman is there to pleasure them. It is seen as an absolute right and a woman’s consent is not required.

I still have to meet a black girl who was not raped at about 12. I am dead serious.” The post led to complaints to the JSC against her and a petition was launched.

Jansen was placed on special leave.

PETER RAMOTHWALA

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