ATC141028: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on the Suspension of Magistrate TM Masinga, dated 28 October 2014:
Report of the Portfolio
Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on the Suspension of M
, dated 28 October 2014:
The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional
Services, having considered the report on the suspension
of Magistrate TM Masinga, an additional magistrate at Umlazi, reports as
On 19 March 2009, Mr
Masinga appeared in the Durban Magistrates Court on a charge of contravening
the Domestic Violence Act, No. 116 of 1998. It was alleged that he assaulted his
wife with the blunt part of an axe, that he kicked her, hit her with open hands
and threatened to kill her.
It was also
alleged that he also assaulted his daughters.
case was transferred
to the Regional Court where Mr Masinga appeared on additional charges of
attempted murder and two counts of assault.
The Regional Court convicted Mr Masinga on a charge of attempted murder
on 23 May 2011 and he was later sentenced to ten (10) years imprisonment. He
appealed against his conviction and sentence. The Pietermaritzburg High Court
on 28 March 2013 ordered the appeal to be adjourned
and granted Mr Masinga leave to bring the matter under
review. He was to file review proceedings by no later than 20 April 2013.
13 June 2014, the Commission was advised that the review proceedings were, on
the request of Mr Masingas attorney, removed from the roll on 22 May 2014 as
he had as yet not filed a Replying Affidavit. The Director of Public
Prosecutions, Kwazulu Natal, on 22 May 2014 filed a Notice of Bar in the event
of Mr Masinga not filing his Replying Affidavit by 9 June 2014.
Masinga was charged with three counts of misconduct and found guilty on two
The Presiding Officer recommended that Mr Masinga be
removed from office as contemplated in section 13(4) of the Magistrates Act, 90
At its meeting held
on 11 July 2014, the Magistrates Commission resolved to recommend to the
Minister that the recommendation of the Presiding Officer be accepted and that
Mr Masinga be removed from office on the grounds of misconduct.
The Commission is of
the view that Mr Masinga's conduct is so serious that it justifies his removal
from office. Furthermore Mr Masinga's apparent failure to prosecute his
appeal/review against his criminal conviction of attempted murder might result
in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions launching an application
for Mr Masinga's bail to be cancelled. This would result in him being
His conduct renders him
unfit to hold the office of Magistrate any longer.
Mr Masinga is currently provisionally
suspended from office and receives no remuneration.
Committee feels that the image of our courts and presiding officers must be
It is not desirable for a
presiding officer who is facing criminal charges or found guilty of a crime to
continue to sit on the Bench.
In the Fourth Parliament, the Portfolio Committee on
Justice and Constitutional Development expressed concerns about delays in the
conclusion of disciplinary hearings caused by pending protracted criminal
appeals. It should be noted that the Commissions decision to recommend his
removal from Office is based on the outcomes of the disciplinary hearing and
not the criminal proceedings. The Commission could still recommend his removal
even if Mr Masinga had been cleared in the criminal proceedings. This is due to
the fact that the standard of proof required in the two instances is different.
The Committee is aware that nothing prevents Mr Masinga
from taking the decisions of the disciplinary hearing on review. Mr Masinga has
not done so and both the Commission and the Committee cannot wait any longer
since any delay has a negative effect on the image of the judiciary.
Having considered the
Commissions report on the suspension from office of Mr TM Masinga and the
Ministers request, the Committee
recommends that the National Assembly
confirms the suspension.
to be considered.
No related documents