Judges get new code of conduct

2011-01-19 10:42
Johannesburg - According to a draft code of conduct, judges should not belong to political parties and should not become involved in political controversy, Business Day newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The Judicial Service Commission Amendment Act of 2008 provided for the drafting of a code of conduct for judges and for the creation of a register of judges' financial interests, similar to those that applied to MPs.

The draft was compiled by Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo and the heads of court and was revealed to Parliament on Tuesday.

Head of policy development at the justice department Jacob Skosana said the act sought to "create a balance between protecting the independence and dignity of the judiciary when considering complaints about, and the possible removal from office of, judicial officers, and the overriding principles of openness and accountability that permeate the Constitution (and oblige) the chief justice in consultation with the minister, to compile a code of conduct which must be tabled by the minister in Parliament for approval".

Skosana said breach of the code, once it had been approved, would be grounds for a formal complaint against a judge.

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