- Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo has rubbished claims of sexual harassment against him.
- Mlambo described the claims as an "insidious poisonous rumour".
- Mlambo is vying for the Chief Justice position.
Chief Justice nominee, Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, says there is absolutely no substance to rumours of sexual harassment against him.
Mlambo is one of the four judges vying for the position of Chief Justice. News24 understands that no one has come forward to lay a sexual harassment complaint against him
In fact, he dismissed the claims as rumours during his interview on Thursday afternoon: "There is no substance to that rumour. It is a rumour, and I think it is an insidious poisonous rumour. There is actually no substance to it."
He said that when he heard the rumours, he "hoped that someone would come up and say: 'I'm one of those who has been sexually harassed by Judge President Mlambo.'
If he is appointed, he said, there won't be any surprises that will embarrass the country.
"I know that as I sit here, I have never sexually harassed anyone, especially people who have aspirations of coming to the Bench. I have not sexually harassed anyone."
Mlambo said he shared statistics with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) of women judges, who he said he had been instrumental in ensuring they act in his court or get appointed in the division.
He added that, looking at the number of women judges he had appointed; the suggestion would be that he had demanded sexual favours from them. But he said the suggestion was an "insult" to the women.
Asked by parliamentary speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula when he first became aware of the sexual harassment rumours, he said several rumours circulated against him and added that it was in the "nature of the legal profession to gossip".
He said the rumours first started circulating when his name was put forward as a possible Chief Justice.
"It's a rumour that's difficult to pin," he said, adding that it didn't identify anyone in any way.
He said he felt "pained" that the rumour found its way into his Chief Justice interview.
"I feel it gives credence to the poisoning of the candidature that I have in this position, and it started and gained steam in this process [and] clearly its purpose is to poison my candidature."
On Wednesday, in an emotional address to the JSC, Chief Justice nominee, Justice Mandisa Maya, hit out at the judiciary for having no sexual harassment policy.
She told commissioners that advocacy groups were concerned that the judiciary could not achieve gender equality and equity when it did not even have policies to accommodate women's challenges.
During her more than 30 minute address to the JSC, Maya said: "I learnt this only recently, the judiciary has no anti-sexual harassment policy, as if we come from this bubble, we are not part of society, and we don't experience the same problems experienced by society."
Mlambo's interview continues.
Never miss a story. Choose from our range of newsletters to get the news you want delivered straight to your inbox.