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Nadel media release on comments by Judge Mabel Jansen

10 May 2016
1. The National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL) is extremely shocked by the alleged comments attributed to the High Court Judge, Justice Mabel Jansen who remarked and made astonishing comments on a post on Facebook as well as in her private messages to Gillian Schutte.

2. In private messages to Gillian Schutte, the judge made the following racial remarks:

(i) "in their culture a woman is there to pleasure them period. Its an absolute right and woman's consent is not required"

(ii) "I still have to meet a black girl who was not raped at about 12"

3. She further commented on a Facebook status when it was put to her that the majority of black men do not rape 5 year olds by saying "yes they do".

4. Section 165 of the Constitution of South Africa states that courts are subject only to the constitution and the law which they are required to apply impartially and without fear, favour or prejudice. The South African Judicial ethics state that in order for the judiciary to fulfil its constitutional obligation, the judiciary needs public acceptance of its moral authority and integrity. A duty is placed on judicial officers to maintain and protect the status of the judiciary. Judges are to refrain from expressing views in a manner which may undermine the standing and integrity of the judiciary.

5. The comments of Judge Jansen, if well founded, impugn the integrity, and undermine the independence of the judiciary. From the utterances by the judge, it is obvious that she is not respectful of this instructive imperative for the judges in the Republic of South Africa and the world in constitutional democratic states. The alleged comments amount to a serious and gross misconduct that violates the constitution and the judges oath of office to uphold, protect and apply the constitution without fear, favour or prejudice.

6. The comments by Judge Jansen are in no doubt racist. There can be no excuse or tolerance for racism, especially emanating from the very judges who are required to administer law. Her conduct needs to be visited with a stern action to send a clear message that acts of racism, no matter where they come from, will never be tolerated in a constitutional state.

7. The statements further cast doubt as to her fitness to hold the office of a judge and her ability to execute her duties in a manner that will ensure that all those who appear before her will receive equal protection and the benefit of law. From her statements it is clear that she harbours racial prejudice against black males, believing them to be rapists and therefore guilty until proving themselves innocent. This mentality from a judge is a threat to proper administration of law and the culture of Human Rights which is enshrined in our constitution.

8. NADEL condemns the racial statements attributed to Judge Jansen and accordingly undertakes to do the following:-
• Lodge a complaint with the Judicial Services Commission to institute disciplinary proceedings against Judge Jansen;
• Call for the suspension of Judge Jansen during the investigation and the disciplinary process by the JSC and, if found guilty, NADEL calls for impeachment and removal of Judge Jansen as a judge.

9. NADEL calls upon ALL South Africans to unite in the struggle against racism in our country and to ensure a united commitment to building a united democratic and non-racial Sate. The statements attributed to the judge, contradict the commitment of ALL South Africans, which is expressed in the Constitution, of which the judge is obliged to uphold and apply.

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF DEMOCRATIC LAWYERS (NADEL), SOUTH AFRICA,

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