Home conflict, war and peace Embattled Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela hospitalised, tribunal hearing postponed

Embattled Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela hospitalised, tribunal hearing postponed

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The Judicial Service Commission’s tribunal probing charges of gross misconduct and gross incompetence levelled against Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela was on Tuesday postponed after information was submitted that the embattled judge had fallen ill and had been hospitalised.

Suspended judge Tshifhiwa Maumela. Picture: Screengrab, Newzroom Afrika

THE JUDICIAL Conduct Tribunal hearing for Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela has been postponed after he was admitted to hospital.

The hearings, chaired by retired Judge Chris Jafta, scheduled to look into Judge Maumela’s failure to deliver numerous reserved judgments within a reasonable time, kicked off on Monday and were scheduled to proceed up until March 22.

Maumela had been suspended since June 2023 by President Cyril Ramaphosa alongside Judge Nomonde Mngqibisa-Thusi, who was taken to task for failure to deliver as many as 21 judgments.

Judge Mngqibisa-Thusi’s hearings were held during December. However, they were held in camera as the judge’s legal team raised concerns that if the hearing were to be held in public it would compromise the testimony of witnesses in her defence who were expected to talk about her personal problems.

As the proceedings were due to resume on Tuesday morning, Judge Maumela’s legal team informed Judge Jafta that he had been admitted to hospital.

Judge Maumela’s legal team requested the proceedings be postponed to a date when he would be able to attend.

They indicated that they would also like to move an application to have proceedings to a date agreed upon.

During the first sitting, Judge President Dunstan Mlambo told the court how Judge Maumela had not done much of the heavy lifting as compared with other judges through the years.

Judge Mlambo shared how Judge Maumela had a history of complaints against his delayed judgments even when he was stationed at the Thohoyandou High Court.

Judge Mlambo further revealed how he knew that Judge Maumela was not fit to preside over the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial and believed he should not be given work that would overwhelm him.

In fact, the judge president told the tribunal hearing that Judge Maumela was only meant to handle the pre-trial for the Meyiwa matter and thereafter a suitable judge was to be appointed. However, he proceeded to hear the evidence.

“He was never meant to hear that matter from day one. He had demonstrated to me as the head of court that he was prone to be incompetent. That’s why I continue to say he’s made himself guilty of gross incompetence,“ Judge Mlambo testified.

However, following the news of his ill-health on Tuesday, Judge Jafta said, as per 13 D of the Tribunal rules, a holding date of May 27 for the hearings to proceed would be elected.

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