/ 4 May 2017

Mabel Jansen resigns as judge

Judge Mabel Jansen.
Judge Mabel Jansen.

The department of justice and constitutional development confirmed on Thursday that Mabel Jansen has resigned with immediate effect.

Jansen has been unable to escape allegations of racism following a public discussion on Facebook in 2015 with filmmaker Gillian Schutte, where she said that 99% of criminal cases she heard were about “black fathers, uncles, brothers raping children as young as five”.

She continued: “Want to read my files: rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape of minors by black family members. It is never-ending.”

In April 2017, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) decided that her comments amounted to impeachable conduct. She was placed on special leave while the JSC deliberated on a complaint against her that no black man could be fairly tried in her courtroom.

The department said on Thursday that Jansen had written to President Jacob Zuma and Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha to inform him of her resignation.

“Minister Masutha has acknowledged the letter, thanked her for her valuable service and is processing the letter for the president’s attention,” the department said in a statement.

The department said that increasing incidents of racism in South Africa has forced the government to review and initiate policies to address discrimination.

“The escalating rate of racial incidents in the country has required government to take steps including the development of the Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill. We are currently evaluating inputs made by members of the public and civic organisations on the Bill,” the department said.

Jansen has faced public outcry since her discussion on Facebook went viral. But the department said that her resignation means that no further disciplinary process is required.