Judge Makhubele hearing postponed following stand-off

There was a stand-off between Gauteng Judge Nana Makhubele and the chairperson of the Judicial Conduct Tribunal hearing probing her impeachable conduct.

Disagreement

Makhubele and retired judge president Achmat Jappie spent Wednesday morning arguing over whether the hearing should be postponed.

On Monday, Makhubele asked the tribunal for a postponement so that she could get proper legal representation. She also wanted postponement while she gave oral evidence and sorted out all issues regarding her legal issues with the State Attorney’s Office.

Her request was dismissed. The hearings were adjourned to Wednesday to give Makhubele time to get her ducks in a row.

Issues around legal representation

The hearings resumed on Wednesday at the Southern Sun Hotel in Rosebank, Johannesburg. Jappie asked Makhubele to tell the tribunal what she had decided to do following the adjournment on Monday.

In response to Jappie, Makhubele said her lawyer, advocate Matshepo Mobeng, will address the tribunal on her behalf. Mobeng is head of the State Attorney’s office in Johannesburg.

She (Mobeng) said she received instructions from Makhubele on Tuesday that she will be bringing an urgent court application. The application was to put the tribunal hearings on hold until she gets proper legal representation. She also wanted to sort out problems surrounding her legal issues with the State Attorney’s office.

Jappie then asked Makhubele if she had anything to add to what Mobeng said.

Finally agrees to give oral testimony

Makhubele said she does not want to give oral evidence before getting guidance from a legal representative. She reiterated that she will be launching an urgent court application to postpone the hearings. This will be until she sorts out her legal representation issues with the State Attorney.

Later on, Makhubele said she does not have a problem giving oral evidence without legal counsel.

She said she would need until Friday to prepare herself.

Thursday set for hearings

Jappie then ordered a short adjournment so that he could discuss with the other tribunal members what decision the tribunal would take.


The other tribunal members are retired Judge Seun Moshidi and Advocate Noxolo Maduba-Silevu.

After the adjournment, Jappie said the tribunal ruled that the hearings would be adjourned until 11am on Thursday. This will be for Makhubele to give evidence.

Jappie said the ruling to postpone the hearings to Thursday was not the tribunal’s unanimous decision.

Two roles at centre of the hearing

Makhubele faces impeachment on a complaint from the civil society coalition #UniteBehind. The coalition argues that after Makhubele was appointed a judge on January 1, 2018, she  she continued her position at a state-owned entity. It says she continued to serve as  chairperson on the interim board of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa). The  double government role was improper, according to #UniteBehind.

Makhubele is the only witness left to testify before the tribunal. The hearing was postponed to Thursday. It will resume with her testimony.

 

Latest News