Judge candidate grilled over helping controversial magistrate

2015-10-07 18:33
(Jenni Evans, News24)

(Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - Things were going well for Gauteng magistrate Shanaaz Mia in her interview for a vacancy on the Free State bench, but they unravelled when she was quizzed about her relationship with her senior - a chief magistrate - who she had apparently helped with a judgment.

She was also asked why she had not attended a Women's Day event in the interests of collegiality.

Mia denied writing the judgment for the magistrate, saying she only helped with corrections because the magistrate did not have enough experience writing judgments.

Hailing from Lenasia in Gauteng, she received compliments from Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke for her impressive qualifications and her CV, but advocate Mike Hellens SC wanted to know why she had left out a stint as magistrate at Kempton Park.

This is the court where former magistrate Judith van Schalkwyk worked and where Mia is alleged to have helped her write the judgment.

Van Schalkwyk was suspended over accusations that she allegedly asked somebody to sit in on her own debt review, asked colleagues to run personal errands and took loans from an attorney.

Controversy at Kempton Park

Questions over her relationship with her senior were then fired at Mia.

She said she did not know the nature of the charges against the magistrate. She said the controversy at Kempton Park was not why she had left it out. She had also left out stints at the Randburg and Wynburg magistrate's courts.

She has also acted in the South Gauteng High Court, the Land Claims Court, the High Court in the Free State, and has worked as a family advocate, legal advisor and public defender.

She explained that she did not stay for the Women's Day function because the person she had been travelling with wanted to get home to her child in Johannesburg.

Mia was also asked why she described herself as an experienced High Court judge, when she had only acted from April to September this year.

She replied that she had asked a company to prepare her CV, adding: "I looked through all the aspects, I think I missed that aspect."

The National Association for Democratic Lawyers was among the associations which nominated her for the position. The interviews continue.

Read more on:    jsc  |  judiciary

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