ATC200529: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on the provisional suspension from office of Mr LT Mkansi, a Regional Magistrate, Bloemfontein, tabled in terms of section 13(3)(b) of the Magistrates Act, 1993 (Act No 90 of 1993), dated 29 May 2020
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on the provisional suspension from office of Mr LT Mkansi, a Regional Magistrate, Bloemfontein, tabled in terms of section 13(3)(b) of the Magistrates Act, 1993 (Act No 90 of 1993), dated 29 May 2020
The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, having considered the report tabled in terms of section 13(3)(b) of the Magistrates Act (Act No 90 of 1993) on the provisional suspension from office of Mr LT Mkansi, a Regional Magistrate, Bloemfontein, reports as follows:
- Mr Mkansi was appointed as a Regional Magistrate, Bloemfontein, on 1 December 2013.
- The Magistrates’ Commission charged Mr Mkansi based on prima facie evidence that on numerous occasions, he had communicated on his cellular phone with an accused person who appeared before him in the criminal court on 24 counts of fraud. Cellular phone contact between Mr Mkansi and the accused was made on 49 occasions before, during and/or after the accused had to appear before court. The first appearance of the accused before Mr Mkansi was on 17 February 2017 and the first call between them took place on 28 March 2017.
- On 7 October 2019, Mr Mkansi was invited to furnish the Commission with representations as to why the Commission should not recommend that he be provisionally suspended from office without remuneration.
- In his representations to the Commission, Mr Mkansi mentioned the following:
- The report of the Ethics Division of the Magistrates Commission concluded that the available evidence does not support a finding of misconduct and that based on the evidence submitted a preliminary investigation will not take the matter further.
- He was not provided with the minutes of the Ethics Committee meeting of 1 November 2019 and further particulars relating to reliable prima facie evidence.
- His provisional suspension without remuneration will result in an arbitrary finding of guilt, he has various financial commitment and is also responsible for the maintenance of his parents.
- The allegations are not serious enough to warrant a provisional suspension without remuneration and there is no likelihood of him influencing witnesses, destroying evidence or undermining the public peace.
- Mr Mkansi also attached a copy of the court record where the prosecutor brought an application for him (Mr Mkantsi) to recuse himself in the criminal matter. The application for recusal was granted. Before recusing himself, Mr Mkansi denied knowingly dialling the number linked to the accused. He also indicated that he does not know where and how the number linked to his name was obtained by anyone.
- Having considered Mr Mkansi’s representations; the seriousness of the allegations against, and the interests of the image of the judiciary, the Commission resolved to recommend that Mr Mkansi be provisionally suspended from office in terms of section 13(3)a) of the Act. The Commission is of the view that the allegations against him are
of such a serious nature as to make it inappropriate to perform the functions of magistrate while the allegations are being investigated. The Commission did not make any determination regarding the withholding of remuneration should he be suspended.
- The Committee is of the view that the allegations against Mr Mkansi point to a possible case of corruption and it is inappropriate for a judicial officer facing such kind of allegations to continue to preside over cases while the allegations are being investigated.
- Having considered the Magistrates Commission’s report, tabled by the Minister for Justice and Correctional Services, on the provisional suspension from office of Mr LT Mkansi pending the outcome of an investigation into his fitness to hold office as a magistrate, the Committee recommends that the National Assembly confirm Mr LT Mkansi’s provisional suspension from office as a magistrate.
Report to be consider
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