Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha on Wednesday placed Judge Mabel Jansen on special leave following a complaint laid against the high court judge over her Facebook comments about black people and rape.
Justice ministry spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said Masutha also approved the appointment of an acting judge to fill the vacancy in the meantime.
“Minister Masutha’s granting of the leave follows the request from Judge President Dunstan Mlambo of the Gauteng Division of the High Court, to place Judge Jansen on special leave, pending finalisation of a complaint submitted to the Judicial Services Commission (JSC). The complaint relates to comments on social media attributed to her which have caused outrage among members of the public,” Mhaga said.
On Tuesday, the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) said it had received a formal complaint from a Johannesburg advocate, Vuyani Ngalwana SC, against Jansen’s controversial statements made during a conversation on Facebook about a year ago. Ngalwana is also chairperson of the Advocates for Transformation in Johannesburg.
The comments surfaced over the weekend and sparked an outcry among social media users and political parties. Jansen stated in the conversation that rape was part of black people’s culture, and that gang raping of a baby, daughter and a mother was “a pleasurable past time”. Jansen further said that she had had dozens of cases before her to prove it.
The North Gauteng High Court judge was labeled a racist, with calls for her to be fired as a judge.
She reportedly defended her statements and said they were taken out of context.
Jansen’s remarks came less than a week after Matthew Theunissen from Cape Town posted a racist statement on social media using the k-word against black people. Theunissen was reacting to a decision by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula to ban South African rugby, cricket, netball and athletics teams from hosting international sporting events until they met transformation targets. – ANA (Edited by Michelle Solomon)