Stop calling yourself judge, Mogoeng warns Ingonyama Trust's Jerome Ngwenya

09 September 2020 - 12:39 By Ernest Mabuza
Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has written to Ingonyama Trust chairperson Jerome Ngwenya, asking him to confirm that he will actively distance himself from the use of the title judge or justice.
Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has written to Ingonyama Trust chairperson Jerome Ngwenya, asking him to confirm that he will actively distance himself from the use of the title judge or justice.
Image: Sebabatso Mosamo/Sunday Times

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has asked Ingonyama Trust chair Sipho Jerome Ngwenya to confirm that he would actively distance himself from the use of the title judge or justice.

Mogoeng asked in a letter that Ngwenya confirm this in writing.

Ngwenya was appointed as a judge in 2000 but subsequently resigned. Though he subsequently made at least one attempt to be reappointed as a judge, that attempt was unsuccessful.

“He cannot therefore project himself in documents or be regarded as a judge or honourable justice. Despite this obvious reality, and as borne out by various documents and based on numerous accounts, Mr Ngwenya holds himself as, has allowed people to regard, address and treat him as a judge or justice,” the office said in a statement.

On the Ingonyama Trust website Ngwenya is referred to as a judge.

“The chief justice wishes to inform the public that once a person resigns from judgeship, he or she can no longer be regarded as a judge.

“This position differs from that of a retired judge who retains the right to use the title.”

The office said unlike serving and retired judges, the Judicial Service Commission cannot take steps against a person who has resigned as a judge when such a person is alleged to have done or said something believed to be unethical.

The office said only those who are subject to the authority of the JSC are therefore addressed and treated as judges. It said the risk that flows from leaving a person to impersonate a judge is that he or she could harm the judiciary without any adverse consequences.

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