KZN regional court president Eric Nzimande provisionally suspended

2018-10-08 15:32

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KwaZulu-Natal’s regional court president Eric Nzimande has been provisionally suspended pending an inquiry into his fitness to hold office as a magistrate.

The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Advocate Michael Masutha, said in a letter on Friday to Nzimande’s attorneys — Ravindra Maniklall and Company — that in terms of the Magistrates Act, he can provisionally suspend a magistrate on advice from the Magistrates Commission.

The amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism has reported that Nzimande allegedly offered acting magistrate positions in the regional courts in exchange for cash, to feed a gambling habit.

He also enabled the formation of a network of judicial officers who are allegedly using their positions to pervert justice on behalf of criminals.

It was further reported by the centre that Nzimande’s alleged patronage network appears to overlap partially with a group of court officials in northern KwaZulu-Natal who are alleged to have taken bribes, particularly around poaching cases.

Masutha also said in the letter that the suspension is informed by the evidence in the possession of the commission.

“It comes from the evidence of [former acting regional court magistrate Thinake] Gumede and various bank statements, which are already in his possession,” said Masutha in the letter.

He said the suspension is premised on the seriousness of the allegations, which have a direct effect on the image of the judiciary.

“I am satisfied that the recommendation by the commission for the suspension of your client is not premature,” he added.

A report to this effect will be tabled in Parliament.

President of the KZN Law Society, Asif Essa, urged the commission to finalise its investigations as a matter of urgency.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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