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Sexual harassment rumour designed to 'poison my candidature': Mlambo

Gauteng judge president Dunstan Mlambo says an 'insidious, poisonous' rumour was designed to torpedo his chances of becoming chief justice

03 February 2022 - 15:55
Gauteng judge president Dunstan Mlambo says rumours of sexual misconduct are designed to prevent him becoming chief justice. File photo
Gauteng judge president Dunstan Mlambo says rumours of sexual misconduct are designed to prevent him becoming chief justice. File photo
Image: Busi Mbatha

Gauteng judge president Dunstan Mlambo has denied allegations of sexual harassment against him, saying there was no substance to the “insidious, poisonous” rumour.

He said the purpose of the rumour was to torpedo his candidature for the position of chief justice.

Mlambo made the statement during his interview with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on Thursday. The JSC is this week interviewing four candidates nominated by President Cyril Ramaphosa for the position of chief justice.

Commissioner Dali Mpofu SC raised the sexual harassment rumour during the interview, saying there had been allegations in which Mlambo was implicated, “rightly or wrongly”.

It started gaining steam in this process. Clearly its purpose is to poison my candidature.
Judge president Dunstan Mlambo

He asked where the rumour came from, and whether there was any substance to it.

“Are there any victims somewhere out there who might come out when you are chief justice, which would embarrass the country? Or is this just one of those where people just smear without any foundation?” Mpofu asked.

Mlambo replied: “There is no substance to that rumour, and I think it is an insidious, poisonous rumour.”

Mlambo said when he heard about the allegations he was shocked, and was hoping someone would come forward and say she had been abused by him so he could respond — but nobody did.

“It is unfortunate that people are using people’s names willy-nilly in spreading rumours of this nature,” he said.

Another commissioner, National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, asked Mlambo when he became aware of the rumour and whether there had been any discussion between himself and the now-retired chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng regarding the matter.

Mlambo said that when the chief justice nomination process started, he received a call from a retired judge who said he had heard something disturbing about him.

“I was shocked. I asked, 'Why are people saying things about me?'” he said.

When he asked for a name, Mlambo said the judge said he did not have a name.

“I had a discussion with no-one because I ascribed it to the rumour mill that always happens in the judiciary. I did not think it was worthy of me to act on it.

“It is a rumour that is difficult to pin down. Who, where, why are they not coming out?”

Mlambo said he felt pained that the rumour had found its way into his interview.

“I just feel it gives credence to the poisoning of the candidature that I have in this position. It started gaining steam in this process. Clearly its purpose is to poison my candidature.”

The interview continues.

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