The Black Lawyers Association (BLA) noted with disgust and disbelief the media reports over the weekend attributing repulsive racist utterances to Judge Mabel Jansen, Judge of the High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Division. These utterances are based on her social media account, Facebook. Some of the Facebook extracts of her racist conversations, which are in BLA’s possession, are as follows:-
“In their culture (black men) a woman is there to pleasure them. Period. It is seen as an absolute right and a woman’s consent is not required… [mo]others are so brain washed that they tell the children that it is the fathers’ birth right to be the first…[m]urder is also not biggy (sic). And gang rapes of baby, daughter and mother a pleasurable pass time.”
These utterances are not befitting a person who occupies such a high office of a judge. The judges’ office is saddled with a lot of responsibility and accountability such that judges must not be seen to be racists or holding prejudicial thoughts or worldview in respect of other races. Judge Jansen like all other judges have a duty to demonstrate to the South African community that our courts are not, as a result of unfounded beliefs or prejudice and stereotypes, biased against the black people of our country. The judges should make the black community to believe that the courts are legitimate tribunals which can be trusted by all which treat all people as equal before the law.
For a judge to hold a view that black people are, in terms of their culture, rapists and murderers is so unacceptable that she cannot be found to be fit and proper person, as is required under section 174 of the Constitution, to continue to occupy a position of judge.
Under the circumstances BLA calls upon Judge Jansen to resign from her position as a judge with immediate effect. In the event that she does not resign BLA will take the matter up with the Judicial Conduct Committee of the JSC in order put in process her impeachment proceedings.
The Judge’s racist comments are a serious cause of concern to the BLA and black community at large. We have serious reservations in her capacity to try criminal matters, like rape and murder, involving black people either as accused persons or as victims. This is so because to her every black male is a rapist as such the principle of “innocence until the contrary is proven” has no meaning for black people. We are also doubtful if Judge Jansen is better place to protect black women who are victims of rape for she does not appreciate their pain in that to her all of them have been raped before and their mothers tell them that it is right to be raped.
In this regard BLA shall petition the head of the judiciary (The Judge President of the North and South Gauteng High Courts, the Honourable Justice Mlambo JP) to do the following:-
1. To review all the criminal cases – rape and murder cases – in which Judge Jansen presided over wherein black people were involved either as an accused persons or as victims; and
2. That Judge Jansen should be place on administrative leave with immediate effect or that she should not be allocate any cases pending the finalisation of the impeachment proceedings which BLA intends to institute against her forthwith;
BLA will hand over a memorandum to the office of Honourable Justice Mlambo JP this week in the North Gauteng High Court in order to register its displeasure in this matter and demanding closure to the whole saga.
Lutendo Benedict Sigogo
9 May 2016