Two magistrates to be removed from office

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cape Town - Two magistrates are to be dismissed and another will be suspended as well as have his salary held back.

Parliament's Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development met on Wednesday to consider recommendations made by the Magistrates' Commission after investigations into Magistrates L Myles, N E Ndamase and M Tyulu.

The Select Committee accepted the recommendation for the suspension and removal from office of Magistrate Myles. The proposal that Ms Ndamase should be removed from office was also approved. Advice that Mr Tyulu should be suspended from the Office of Magistrate and his salary be withheld was also endorsed.

The Magistrates' Commission investigated allegations made against each of the magistrates.

Mr Tyulu was found guilty of sexual harassment involving a female accused who had appeared before him in a pending criminal case in the Cape Town Magistrates' Office. He had previously been found guilty on four counts of misconduct and of trying to borrow money from a member of the public waiting for a domestic violence hearing.

The Magistrates' Commission had considered Magistrate Tyulu's representations but held the view the withholding of his salary was justified. His conduct was so serious that it rendered him unfit to hold office and justified his removal. The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development had previously confirmed his suspension from office.

The Upington Magistrate, L Myles, suffers from ill-health. She submitted a medical report to the Magistrates' Commission. The medical report stated that since April 2009, a major depressive episode had severely compromised her mental state. Her working environment had also contributed significantly to her depression.

Her attendance record showed that Magistrate Myles had been absent from office on sick leave with full pay for 460 days and on sick leave with half pay for 141 days since 1 November 2004.

The Magistrates' Commission reported that Magistrate Myles had not returned to work by 18 July 2012. Since 31 December 2011, she had also failed to submit medical certificates to cover her absence from office, despite various requests to hand them in.

The Magistrates' Commission decided in July 2012 she should be removed from office due to ill-health. She was still absent and had failed to give medical certificates to support her absenteeism.

The detrimental impact this had on service delivery and the administration of justice could no longer be supported. In February 2012, the number of outstanding cases on five criminal court records in Upington stood at 1 211.

Magistrate Ndamase was charged with 42 counts if misconduct. She was found guilty on 11 of these charges, eight of which were for refusing to execute lawful orders.

The Magistrates' Commission recommended that the conduct of which Magistrate Ndamase had been found guilty was so serious that it justified her removal from office. -