Suspended judge Maumela is hospitalised, tribunal hearing adjourns

The Judicial Conduct Tribunal was scheduled to proceed on Tuesday probing allegations of misconduct and incompetence made against the former Senzo Meyiwa murder trial judge

19 March 2024 - 11:03
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Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela.
Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela.
Image: Thulani Mbele

The hearing into the conduct of suspended Pretoria high court judge Tshifhiwa Maumela has adjourned as he has been admitted to hospital.

He was due to appear before the Judicial Conduct Tribunal regarding complaints that he seriously delayed handing down judgments.

The proceedings started 45 minutes late with chairperson retired Constitutional Court judge Chris Jafta apologising, saying the delay was due to “developments”.

Maumela's legal representative advocate Ghandi Badela said the new developments were the hospitalisation of Maumela, which required the hearing to be postponed. 

“Justice and members of the panel, as we have informed you in the meeting, this morning [Tuesday] we learnt Maumela was hospitalised. We then approached the tribunal to seek this matter to be postponed to a date when he will be able to attend proceedings,” he said.

The request was granted and the matter was postponed to May 27 pending the health of Maumela.

The tribunal heard on Monday Maumela had delayed justice by taking up to five years to hand down a judgment.

Gauteng judge president Dunstan Mlambo, who was the complainant in the matter, testified and provided a list of blunders allegedly committed by Maumela which could find him guilty of gross incompetence and misconduct.

“It took him 24 months to deliver a leave to appeal [outcome]. What fortified my view that he has made himself guilty of gross incompetence is when you look at the quality of his judgments. There is a nine-page document that took him five years and the issue involved doesn’t justify the delay in judgment.”

He said he struggled to get answers from Maumela when questioned or contacted about the delays.

“An additional factor one may consider that could lead to a finding of gross misconduct is he didn’t tell me why he reserved the judgment for so long. I would write to him and he wouldn’t respond. When he did, he would give dates of when judgment would be handed down. [However], he would not hand down those judgments on those dates. After that date it would take two years for the judgment to come,” Mlambo said.

Maumela was suspended in June last year on recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission pending the outcome of the hearing into his conduct.

The judge was presiding over the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial at the time, which had to be postponed due to Maumela’s health. Mlambo told the tribunal on Monday Maumela was not meant to hear the high-profile Meyiwa trial but proceeded to do so, defying instructions from the head of court.


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