Western Cape judiciary warns of fake directive ordering judges to submit handwriting samples

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A fake Western Cape judiciary directive is circulating on social media. (Ashraf Hendricks, GroundIp)
A fake Western Cape judiciary directive is circulating on social media. (Ashraf Hendricks, GroundIp)
  • A fake Western Cape judiciary directive is circulating on social media.
  • It claims that judges who have poor handwriting have to submit writing samples.
  • The Office of the Chief Justice has denied that the directive was issued by Judge President John Hlophe.

The Western Cape judiciary has become the latest victim of fake news after a circular purporting to be a directive from Judge President John Hlophe was shared on social media.

It claimed certain "judges handwriting is indecipherable" and called on those who had poor handwriting to submit weekly writing samples.

"Those whose handwriting does not show a marked improvement will have to come in on Saturday and write lines," the fake circular read.

the doctored version of the directive claimed cert
The doctored version of the directive claimed certain “judges handwriting is indecipherable” and called for the those with poor handwriting to submit weekly writing samples.

The fake directive was a doctored version of an actual directive that dealt with the transcription of court proceedings and requests that judicial officers and legal practitioners take comprehensive notes in English during court proceedings.

READ | Fear, social status, financial gain: Why do South Africans share fake news?

The actual directive went on to say that those should then be made available as part of the court record to reduce the "unnecessary and wasteful" expense of transcribing court proceedings and reconstruction court records for matters of appeal or review.

The Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ) said it was aware of the doctored directive and said it was not issued by the judge president.

"The spurious directive states that it is being issued as an addendum to the official directives issued by the judge president on 6 September 2021, and appears to introduce measures to improve the legibility of handwritten court notes," the OCJ statement read.

READ HERE | Fake news: Police slam social media post claiming shooting of Phoenix man was linked to KZN unrest

"The intention of the authors of this fraudulent directive remains unclear, but the public is once again reminded that the use of another's signature is a serious offence.

"Members of the public and media are requested to contact the OCJ to verify the authenticity of any directive, article, communication, or social media post that purports to be that of a judge, before attributing statements made on any platform to a judge," the statement read.


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