ATC170314: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on the Provisional Suspension of Magistrate SR Monaledi, dated 14 March 2017
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on the Provisional Suspension of Magistrate SR Monaledi, dated 14 March 2017
The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, having considered the report on the provisional suspension of Magistrate SR Monaledi, a Regional Court President in North West, reports as follows:
- Ms Monaledi was appointed as Regional Court President, North West, on 2 June 2003.
- On 5 March 2015, the Commission received a letter, which alleged that Ms Monaledi had submitted excessive transport claims; was seldom in the office and performed no work in the Regional Court; and was never available to the public, prosecutors, attorneys and the clerical staff.
- On 23 July 2015, the matter was referred to the Commission's Ethics Committee, which resolved that a preliminary investigation be conducted into the allegations. Subsequently, two Senior Magistrates were appointed in terms of Regulation 26(1) of the Regulations for Judicial Officers in the Lower Courts, 1994, to “to obtain evidence with regard to the allegations and all matters connected with or incidental thereto in order to determine whether there are any grounds for a charge of misconduct against Regional Court President Ms S R Monaledi.”
- From the evidence obtained, it would appear that there is sufficient evidence available to prove on a balance of probabilities that Ms S R Monaledi made herself guilty of misconduct. There is also prima facie evidence that Ms Monaledi on numerous occasions submitted false subsistence, travel and transport claims and therefore committed fraud. Among others:
- Ms Monaledi was constantly absent from her office. During the past three years (2013 – October 2015) she spent an average of 71.49% of the available work days away from her office and it was unclear whether or not she indeed was at her office on the other available court days (28.51%). Ms Monaledi does not render any court work in the regional courts.
- Ms Monaledi seemed to have created a second salary for herself by means of monthly subsistence and travel claims. During the past three years she claimed a total of R 953 838.56 but the Commission identified a number of discrepancies regarding the claims, including that in 41 instances, she claimed to have had attended meetings held by the Commission or one of its Committees while, in fact, no such meetings were held on the days she claimed they took place.
- Ms Monaledi, in contravention of section15 of the Magistrates Act, No. 90 of 1993, was an incorporator and an active director of a private company BOITHA TOURS AND CONSTRUCTION. She was also a founding member and an active director of KWA-LITHO AGRICULTURAL.
- Ms Monaledi obtained a certificate of good standing from the Secretary of the Magistrates Commission in which it was indicated that there were no pending investigations against her despite the fact that she had been informed of the decision to conduct a preliminary investigation against her. It was confirmed by the Office of the Chief Justice that this certificate of good standing was indeed used as motivation when she applied to be appointed as a Judge in the High Court.
- In a letter dated 28 September 2016, the Commission requested Ms Monaledi to show cause why the Commission should not recommend to the Minister that she be provisionally suspended from office pending the outcome of the investigation into her fitness to hold the Office of Magistrate. The letter was served on her on 18 October 2016. Despite a reminder having been sent to her on 12 November 2016, she did not furnish the Commission with any response.
- At its meeting held on 25 November 2016, the Commission deliberated on the matter and agreed that:
- The evidence against Ms Monaledi was of such a serious nature as to make it inappropriate for her to perform the functions of a magistrate or regional court president while the allegations are being investigated.
- Her alleged conduct tarnished the good name, dignity and esteem of the Office of Magistrate and the administration of justice.
- Without anticipating the outcome of the investigation into her fitness to hold the Office of Magistrate, the available evidence against Ms Monaledi was of such a serious nature that it would justify her removal from office, should she be found guilty of the misconduct charges which were preferred against her.
- The available evidence justified that Ms Monaledi be criminally charged on numerous counts of fraud.
- Having considered the Commission’s report on the provisional suspension from office of Ms SR Monaledi and the Minister’s request, the Committee recommends that the National Assembly confirms the provisional suspension.
Report to be considered
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