Gumede won’t be suspended

2013-06-03 00:00

THE Magistrate’s Commission yesterday defended its decision not to place Pinetown magistrate Stanley Gumede on suspension after it decided to go ahead with a misconduct hearing against him.

“It [the suspension] depends on the seriousness of the charges, but we don’t suspend magistrates from their normal functions until the misconduct hearing is finalised,” commission secretary Danie Schoeman said.

Gumede was served with misconduct charges last Wednesday after complaints lodged nine years ago with the Magistrate’s Commission were investigated.

Durban lawyer Comfort Ngidi wrote to the commission asking it to resolve the matter following reports that Gumede was earmarked to be the new head of the National Prosecuting Authority.

Schoeman said it was not envisaged that the failure to suspend Gumede would lead to tension at the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court if some of the complainants were still prosecutors there.

A date for the misconduct hearing is still to be decided.

Schoeman said Gumede would have an opportunity to defend himself at the hearing.

Meanwhile, Ngidi welcomed the move by the commission to continue with the hearing, but said he was disappointed that the commission had handled the matter “very badly”.

“There is no good explanation that the allegations were not investigated for eight years. It is unfair,” Ngidi said.

He said it was important to charge an individual while the memory of witnesses was still fresh.

Ngidi sang Gumende’s praises, saying he was one of the best magistrates in the country.

Although unaware of what the charges are, Ngidi said Gumede has always provided well-reasoned judgements and he hoped that the hearing was not a plot to stop him from growing in his career. He said he hoped the hearing would not be about the hatred some people held for President Jacob Zuma.

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