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JUDGE NKOSI: I HAD NO SECRETARY, COMPUTER

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MBABANE - Suspended High Court Judge Sipho Nkosi says for the first 13 months after he was appointed a judge, he worked without a secretary.  

He said he had to utilise his own resources to execute his duties as a judge.  “I was humiliated and there was too much interference in my work,” he alleged.
Judge Nkosi further highlighted that for the last seven months, he did not have a computer, thus making his work difficult.  He said: “I had to go and take the computer ngehheshi (forcefully).”

The judge, who is currently waiting for the outcome of his impeachment, which was concluded in one day by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), said since Monday, the commission had not communicated anything to him yet.  He also highlighted that whatever the outcome of the purported impeachment was, he had nothing to lose and he feared nothing.

Breaches

Judge Nkosi has reached out to the King’s Advisory Council (Liqoqo) to advise His Majesty about alleged breaches of the Constitution by the Chief Justice (CJ), Bheki Maphalala, and to revoke his suspension. The judge also alleged that during his first two years as a judge, he was subjected to ill-treatment in that he was not given the necessary tools and resources to carry out his duties. He said on numerous occasions, he implored the CJ, registrar of the High Court and secretary of the JSC to give him resources to work.

“However, the chief justice continued with literally oppressive actions to demean my status and making it impossible for me to carry on working as a judge. He deliberately impeded my performance,” reads the letter. According to Judge Nkosi, the CJ allegedly on various occasions literally subjugated the rule of law and breached fundamental provisions of the Constitution by deliberately interfering in court matters which he was seized with. This, according to the judge, undermined the sanctity of the High Court and independence of the Judiciary.

Derogation

Judge Nkosi said the first derogation allegedly by the CJ, who is also the Chairperson of the JSC, emanated from Section 158 (3) of the  Constitution, which provided that where the King, acting on the advice of an ad hoc committee in the case of the chief justice, and on the advice of the chief justice in the case of any justice of a superior court, considers that the question of removing from office the chief justice or a justice on any ground stated in sub-section (2) ought to be investigated, the King shall refer the matter to the Judicial Service Commission for investigation. Sub-section 2 states that a justice of a superior court shall not be removed from office except for stated serious misbehaviour or inability to perform the functions of office arising from infirmity of body or mind.

Judge Nkosi stated that the CJ must advise the King of any complaints he had against a judge and His Majesty would then direct the JSC to investigate such complaint. This, according to the judge, did not happen in his case. He said he was not at any point advised by the JSC that a directive had been issued by the King empowering the former to investigate any matters concerning his behaviour.

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