Magistrate told to explain refusal to recuse herself
MBABANE – Manzini Magistrate Sebenzile Ndlela-Kunene has been ordered to file her reasons for refusal to entertain an application for recusal made by lawyer Martin ‘Internash’ Dlamini.
She was also ordered to answer to the allegations that she refused to entertain Dlamini’s request to be absent from her court.
Magistrate Ndlela-Kunene was accused of not being cooperative with Dlamini because she did not allow him to speak on his clients’ behalf.
Dlamini has allegedly been threatened with incarceration by the magistrate for addressing her as ‘my lady’, instead of ‘your worship’.
This was in connection with a case in which Dlamini represented Sikelela Derrick Ngwenya and Sicelo Sifiso Shongwe, who were charged with stealing two cattle from Mpala Ranch on April 7, 2012.
An affidavit from Ngwenya was attached to the application. They were arrested on May 19, 2012, by the Manzini Lukhozi special branch of the police. They were remanded on several occasions until they were brought before Ndlela-Kunene on May 25, 2012. Attorney Dlamini could not attend the hearings and he attributed this to other legal matters he had to attend to in Big Bend before Senior Magistrate Donald Mavuso.
Ndlela-Kunene was allegedly adamant and told Dlamini that her court was also a lawful court and if he failed to attend she would continue with the proceedings.
Ndlela-Kunene allegedly asked the accused why they hired Dlamini and advised them to get another legal representative. "She did not allow our attorney to speak on our behalf, to the point that she threatened to detain him for contempt for addressing her as ‘my lady’ instead of ‘your worship’," Ngwenya said.
The accused alleged that there was no interpreter for them when the case was heard in the magistrate’s chambers.
The suspects further accused her of having refused to grant them bail and alleged she said the reason was that she was very late and was rushing somewhere, so they were remanded back into custody. Dlamini then moved the application for Ndlela-Kunene’s recusal at the High Court.
The case was heard by Judge Mumcy Dlamini, who granted the order as prayed. She ordered Ndlela-Kunene to write to her and inform her why she refused to recuse herself in the matter and answer the allegations as set out in the application.
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