Buyiswa Majiki, a high court judge in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape and mother to acting abaThembu king Azenathi Dalindyebo, has dismissed as an insult to judges allegations that she interfered with her son’s case in the royal family’s dispute over who should be acting king.
She said those describing her presence in court to support her son as a way to intimidate judges were “undermining the independence of judges”.
To think judges would be “traumatised” by her presence in court was also an insult to them, she said.
This comes after Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle decided to recognise King Dalindyebo’s son, 24-year-old Azenathi, as the acting king.
It prompted a disgruntled group of the abaThembu royal family – who prefered the jailed king’s brother, Prince Mthandeni Mankunku, to act as king – to approach the Grahamstown High Court to have the appointment set aside.
Judge Majiki is the first wife of abaThembu king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, who was found guilty of arson, kidnapping, defeating the ends of justice, and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm in 2009 by Judge Sytze Alkema, in the same Mthatha High Court where Majiki works.
Nkosi Thanduxolo Mtirara, chairperson of the royal family who want Mankunku to be acting king, has accused Majiki, also known as Queen Nocollege, of interfering in the court case against Azenathi and described her behaviour as being unethical.
This was because she phoned their lawyers and asked for court papers and orders.
The queen insisted that she simply showed interest in a case by asking for documents so that she could be informed about the nature of the order that a judge in the case had issued.
“I asked for a court order from the attorneys [of the complainants] because we were not in court on the day it was issued. So, when an order is issued in your absence, you must know what it says in order to comply,” she said.
Majiki said she believed she related to all lawyers as colleagues and that they would not find her request for the court order and papers, which are public documents, an inappropriate act.
“That can never be viewed as interference. I think people are pushing their agendas and I am not going to be drawn into that,” she explained.
She added that she was not going to be apologetic as she would go to court any day when one of her relatives had a matter, time permitting. “Before I am a public servant, I am a human being,” she said.
“My understanding is that he [Mtirara] says that by going to court, I am there to antagonise a sitting judge.
“Are you saying all these judges, who have taken an independent oath, can risk their integrity by allowing themselves to be intimidated by an individual?
“As part of the oath that all judges take, they pledge [to carry out their work] without fear, favour or prejudice. Do you think they can all go against their oath just because I am part of the public gallery in court?”
Mtirara said Majiki’s “interference” proved that she was conflicted as she was not a respondent in the matter and was fully aware of the correct channels of requesting papers and orders.
He said it was for this reason that they had decided to take their complaint to the Grahamstown High Court instead of Mthatha, where Majiki is a judge.
They sought an outside judge to preside over the case as a number of justices and political leaders in the Eastern Cape were conflicted about it, he added.