Jansen complaint not finalised yet: JSC

Cape Town - The complaint of racism lodged against Johannesburg High Court judge Mabel Jansen has not been finalised yet, the Judicial Service Commission said on Monday.

She had been expected to make her representations by 7 July and a judicial conduct committee would consider what to do, JSC spokesperson Louis Fourie said.

If the committee thought the complaint could lead to serious charges, it would ask the chief justice to appoint a tribunal to hear the matter.

“The judicial conduct committee will make that recommendation. We haven't been advised about this yet,” he said.

The controversy around Jansen arose after journalist Gillian Schutte in May posted excerpts of an old exchange she had with Jansen on Facebook.

Jansen wrote of black people: “In their culture a woman is there to pleasure them. Period. It is seen as an absolute right and a woman's consent is not required.

“I still have to meet a black girl who was not raped at about 12. I am dead serious.”

Jansen said she was referring to rape cases that she had presided over. She said the comments were taken out of context, and were private. She had just lost her husband in a car accident.

However, a petition against her was launched on Amandla.Mobi and Jansen was placed on special leave.

Complained before

Schutte said she laid a complaint when the comments were originally made, about a year before she reposted them. She wanted to know why it had taken so long for the matter to be dealt with. It emerged it was never submitted in writing on her behalf, in an oversight by a lawyer who said she would handle it.

Advocate Vuyani Ngalwana, SC, laid a complaint against Jansen in his personal capacity, and in his capacity as Johannesburg branch chair of Advocates for Transformation.

The Jansen complaint came during a slew of racist comments on Facebook this year.

On Monday, former KwaZulu-Natal estate agent Penny Sparrow pleaded guilty to a charge of crimen injuria for calling black people monkeys, in a Facebook rant over beach litter. She was fined R5 000 by the Scottburgh Magistrate's Court. The case that followed an Equality Court guilty verdict and an order that she pay R150 000 to the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation.

Meanwhile, it was not immediately clear if the tribunal system was up and running again. A recent Constitutional Court judgment relating to Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe put the tribunal on hold.

That judgment sought clarity on new rules relating to the way complaints were dealt with. 


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