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Judge Mbutfo recuses himself

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MBABANE – The deputy sheriffs’ application to charge Lorraine Hlophe for contempt of court, failed to take off yesterday as Judge Mbutfo Mamba recused himself.

Hlophe is the Registrar of the Supreme Court. She also doubles as the Sheriff of the Kingdom of Swaziland. The deputy sheriffs had moved an application for an order to charge Hlophe for contempt of court. She had allegedly refused to abide by a court order directing her to renew Identity Cards for the deputy sheriffs. The order had been issued by High Court Judge Qinisile Mabuza.

High Court Judge Mamba said he would not be able to hear the matter because there were allegations touching on a fellow judge, Justice Qinisile Mabuza. He also stated that the matter also involved the Registrar of the Supreme Court Hlophe who they interact with on a frequent basis.

“I would not be doing justice if I continued to hear the matter. This is because of the allegations made in the papers involving a fellow judge and the Registrar of the Supreme Court,” Mamba said. He mentioned that he interacted with Hlophe because her offices were located in the premises of the High Court where those of the Judges were.
He stated that by his recusal, he did not mean that other judges should follow suit, but it was his individual decision.
This was not the first time Mamba recused himself in a matter. He once refused to hear a matter involving Walter Bennet and the then Registrar of the High Court. He recused himself in that matter because he interacted frequently with the Registrar.

The deputy sheriffs were represented by Advocate Lucas Maziya on TL Dlamini and Associates’ instruction. The Attorney General’s office was to be represented by Sifiso Khumalo in the matter.   
Hlophe is alleged to have turned back the deputy sheriffs from her office where they had gone to fetch their ID cards. She allegedly said she would not issue the cards because she had lodged an appeal.

She is alleged to have stated that the appeal case would not be heard at least until the last session of the Supreme Court of Appeal towards the end of the year. She had also allegedly told the deputy sheriffs that they were unfortunate to have been caught in between her war with High Court Judge Qinisile Mabuza.  
The matter is still pending.

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