/ 9 May 2016

DA refers alleged racist remarks by Judge Mabel Jansen to JSC

“Given the gravity of this complaint
“Given the gravity of this complaint

The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Monday said it would refer the alleged racist outbursts by High Court Judge Mabel Jansen to the Judicial Services Commission’s (JSC) Judicial Conduct Committee.

This, said the DA’s Glynnis Breytenbach, would determine whether an investigation was in order into Jansen’s alleged racism on social media platform, Facebook.

“Given the gravity of this complaint, it is important that this committee is apprised of all the facts in this regard and satisfies itself that Judge Jansen indeed acted in contravention of her judicial oath,” said Breytenbach.

“We have also requested that the South African Human Rights Commission conduct their own investigation into the matter.”

Breytenbach was referring to a May 7 post on social media by journalist and social activist Gillian Schutte. Schutte had reposted a Facebook discussion wherein Jansen allegedly explained her views on black South African culture as it pertained to crime, namely rape.

In the screengrabs posted by Schutte, Jansen wrote some of the following: “In their culture a woman is there to pleasure them. Period. It is seen as an absolute right and a woman’s consent is not required” as well as “I still have to meet a black girl who was not raped at about 12. I am dead serious.”

This and more was screengrabbed and posted, then – from Schutte’s original post – shared over 199 times on Facebook by Monday. Schutte also directed her followers on Twitter to a public thread on Facebook where Jansen made similar comments.

Schutte said it was not the first time she had tried to expose Jansen’s views and had in June 2015 reported the matter to the JSC.

In what appears to be Jansen’s Twitter account, @mabel_jansen, a response to the matter is given.

“The Judge’s comments that rape is part of black culture is not only hurtful and demeaning, but fundamentally undermines the dignity of our people, and in doing so, violates the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa,” said Breytenbach.

Jansen’s comments, said Breytenbach, also appeared to be at odds with the Code of Judicial Conduct, a part of which states that a judge must at all times “personally avoid and dissociate him or herself from comments or conduct by persons subject to his or her control that are racist, sexist or otherwise manifest discrimination in violation of the equality guaranteed by the Constitution”.

“The JSC is empowered in terms of Section 177(1) of the Constitution to recommend that a judge be removed for amongst other things, gross misconduct, following an investigation,” said Breytenbach.

“We therefore urge that this constitutionally set out investigation be initiated and that this serious matter receive the necessary attention that it deserves,” she said. – African News Agency (ANA)