Magistrate back in the soup

2015-07-14 06:42


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A CONTROVERSIAL Pietermaritzburg magistrate has come under fire once again after she was arrested for allegedly intimidating a state witness in March this year.

Thinake Lindelwa Gumede (35), who was acting as a regional court magistrate between Pietermaritzburg and Camperdown until her term ­expired last month, was arrested for allegedly taking a photograph of a state witness at a KZN police station.

Gumede was previously involved in what was described as a “war” ­between acting regional court magistrates and district magistrates last month.

According to the case docket, which The Witness is in possession of, ­Gumede was arrested at the Kwadukuza police station outside Stanger on March 24.

According to police sources, ­Gumede entered the station premises and spoke to a witness who, according to the source, was due to testify in a rape case against one of Gumede’s ­relatives.

Gumede then allegedly took a ­picture of the female witness using her cellphone, and threatened her. Police then confiscated the phone and arrested Gumede.

Gumede was allowed to continue serving as an acting regional court magistrate until her term ended at the end of June, even though a criminal case was opened against her.

Secretary of the Magistrates Commission Godfrey Ramoroka said that because Gumede’s term was not extended, the Magistrates Commission does not have any jurisdiction over her as she is no longer serving as a magistrate and they are not at liberty to respond to any enquiries about her regarding complaints made to them.

Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development John Jeffery confirmed that Gumede’s term had expired at the end of June and that he had not re-appointed her as an acting regional court magistrate.

Gumede has more than 20 cases of serious and violent crimes still outstanding.

“Acting magistrates are required to complete their part-heard matters even after their term has expired and do not need to be re-appointed in ­order to do this as in terms of the Magistrates Court Act, they are deemed to have been appointed to dispose of part-heard matters and the disposal of any proceedings,” Jeffery said.

Gumede’s matter of intimidation was last in court on June 29.

According to National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Natasha Kara, the matter was then adjourned to July 20 for further investigations.

Gumede could not be reached for comment despite numerous attempts to speak to her both yesterday and last week.

Last month, The Witness reported that regional court prosecutors rallied together and wrote a formal letter of complaint ­addressed to the office of the ­Pietermaritzburg senior public ­prosecutor, accusing Gumede of ­verbally abusing and disrespecting them. At the time, Gumede ­maintained the root of their ­complaints was incompetence, as well as what she termed a “war between legal professionals” over positions

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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