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Magistrate under fire for ‘unbecoming behaviour’

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A Kimberley magistrate has been reported to the Magistrate’s Commission for allegedly contravening the code of conduct after she purportedly displayed “shockingly vulgar, unbecoming and rude” behaviour.

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A KIMBERLEY magistrate has been reported to the Magistrate’s Commission for allegedly contravening the code of conduct after she purportedly displayed “shockingly vulgar, unbecoming and rude” behaviour.

The matter was recently reported by the head of the legal unit and chairperson of the Northern Cape Civics Organisation, Ross Henderson, after an interim protection order was granted in August 2022 following complaints regarding offensive and insulting language and physical assault and threats directed at the magistrate’s neighbours.

A criminal case was also lodged at the Kimberley police station.

According to the claims, the incident took place on August 3, 2022, when a neighbour who was skipping in the garden was allegedly insulted and told that she was a “black p***”.

She was also accused of being on “mental medication” and of breaking a window. Subsequently, a video was recorded showing the magistrate grabbing her skipping rope.

The family further claimed that another family member was sworn at and called a “f***ing b****”.

Family members related that they were threatened while they were playing outside, while items were thrown into their yard.

They felt worried that their children would become the targets of psychological or physical harm, as well as acts of intimidation.

They claimed they were also threatened that they would “come off second best as magistrates held power in the courts”.

A proposal was later made to settle the matter.

Henderson said he was shocked at the “blatant disregard” for the rule of law.

“The magistrate continued to harass the complainant after an interim protection order was issued. A magistrate must be a person of integrity and should at all times act accordingly,” said Henderson.

“The complaint was lodged with the Magistrates Commission against Kubashni Padayachee purely based on the code of conduct for magistrates, in accordance with the Magistrates Act, No. 90 of 1993. The code is clear that magistrates, as judicial officers, are required to maintain high standards of conduct in both their professional and personal capacities.”

He added that the code of conduct dictated that a magistrate should always act with absolute integrity.

“The Magistrates Commission has assured me that my complaint has been escalated to a senior magistrate for investigation. I will not hesitate to lodge a complaint against any other magistrate who fails to adhere to the code of conduct.

“I will ensure that my complaint is not swept under the carpet. Magistrates and judges must also obey the laws of the land and should refrain from unbecoming behaviour,” said Henderson.

An attorney for Padayachee, Riana Gagiano, indicated that the matter between the parties had been settled.

“You can confirm with the secretary of the Magistrates Commission that the matter was settled,” said Gagiano.

While the Magistrates Commission did not respond to media enquiries, it confirmed in correspondence to the Northern Cape Civics Organisation that the matter had been brought to the attention of its ethics division.

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