Bar council questions Mpshe appointment

2010-02-10 14:22

THE General Council of the Bar (GCB) of SA has called on the

justice minister to put Mokotedi Mpshe’s appointment as an acting judge on hold

amid concerns over the independence of the judiciary.

“The General Council of the Bar of SA has learnt with dismay and

concern that the minister of justice ... has appointed Advocate Mpshe, a state

employee, to act as a judge,” said GCB chairperson Patric Mtsaulana.

At a heads of court meeting in October 2008, the council expressed

concerns about the appointment of state employees such as members of staff of

the State Attorney’s office, the Asset Forfeiture Unit and the National

Prosecuting Authority, as acting judges.

Mpshe was the acting National Director of Public Prosecutions while

Vusi Pikoli was suspended and later fired.

Mpshe was then appointed to act in the North West High Court,

Mafikeng between February 1 to July?31?2010.

The council said the then chief justice had promised to place the

matter on the agenda of the meeting of the heads of court and the Judicial

Service Commission (JSC).

The council believed that the JSC had decided against state

employees acting as judges.

“In the light of the above the GCB calls on the minister to

withdraw, or at least suspend, the appointment of Advocate Mpshe as an acting

judge pending verification by him of the above.”

“The GCB believes very strongly that the employment of state

employees as acting judges undermines the independence of the judiciary.”

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