After today’s appearance of suspended Pretoria Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola says the law must take its course.
Nair appeared in court on corruption charges after accusations were made before the State Capture Commission that he had taken an R200,000 security system from African Global Operations (previously known as Bosasa) as a bribe.
“All persons are equal before the law, whether they are lay persons or officers of the court. The law must now take its course, as it would in every criminal case. Justice must not only be done, but manifestly be seen to be done,” Lamola said.
The Ministry explained that Nair is also facing internal misconduct proceedings as provided for in the Magistrates Act, 1993 and the Code of Judicial Conduct for Magistrates. The criminal charges “will be decided by a court of law”.
“There are two stages to misconduct proceedings. There is, firstly, an internal investigation conducted by the Magistrates Commission. Thereafter, there is a Parliamentary procedure. The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Mr Ronald Lamola, on advice of the Magistrates Commission, provisionally suspended Mr Nair on 24 February 2020.
“Thereafter a report was submitted to Parliament to pass a resolution as to whether or not the provisional suspension can be confirmed…[and] Parliament confirmed the suspension of Mr Nair and the misconduct proceedings instituted by the Magistrates Commission against him are in progress,” the department said.
In addition, the department said that the ministry is concerned with the length of time it takes for the Magistrate’s Commission to conclude proceedings involving misconduct.
“The Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr John Jeffery, has on numerous occasions expressed his concerns to the Magistrates Commission regarding delays in misconduct proceedings against magistrates,” the department said.