TROUBLE DOGS JUDGE
Farmer goes after Judge Jansen
CONTROVERSY appears to be following Judge Mabel Jansen into retirement: she might be forced to come back and face a complaint of “gross misconduct” recently lodged against her at the Judicial Services Commission (JSC).
Meanwhile, the Black Lawyers Association (BLA) has confirmed that it is considering taking her to the Equality Court for the “racially offensive statements” she wrote on Facebook in 2015, in which she allegedly portrayed black men as rapists.
JSC secretary Sello Chiloane has confirmed that a Mpumalanga farmer Johan Le Roux has filed a misconduct complaint against the former Pretoria High Court judge.
The latest complaint, lodged by Le Roux, relates to cases that Judge Jansen presided over from February 2015 to March 2016.
Le Roux alleges that Judge Jansen “colluded” with Mpumalanga’s so-called “Boere Mafia” to, among other things, help them “fraudulently” take over his family’s R211 million farm called “Plaston” in Mpumalanga for a paltry R28m.
The “Boere Mafia” are supposedly remnants of apartheid’s Broederbond secret society, whom advocate BJ Bredenkamp, a former senior prosecutor at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), once described as being too powerful to be investigated.
Bredenkamp said: “A matter of concern to this office (NPA) are the repeated indications/rumours that a group of influential people and institutions in Nelspruit, certain attorneys and the farming community, appear to be too powerful to be investigated.”
In his founding affidavit seen by The Star, Le Roux claims that Judge Jansen delivered an “outrageous” default judgment in September 2015, which led to his family’s farm being liquidated in order for the “Boere Mafia” to purchase the farm during a public auction at a price, Le Roux said that was well below market value.
Le Roux told The Star that the judgment was outrageous because his legal representatives were not given an opportunity to argue against liquidation.
He added that the farm Plaston had on it “18 highly valuable properties” around the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport valued at over R211m at the start of the “fraudulent liquidation”, but were only sold for just over R28m in May last year.
“(There was no) proper advertising in the Government Gazette (for the public auction) as well as elsewhere, with material misrepresentation, without allowing any viewing of the property, without any advertisement boards at the property’s entries,” Le Roux asserted in his affidavit.
He further alleges in the over 2 000-page complaint that Judge Jansen was aware of all these “fraudulent” activities and turned a blind eye.
JSC spokesperson CP Fourie acknowledged that the complaint had been received by the body’s secretariat and the matter has been referred to the Judicial Conduct Committee (JCC), a body within the JSC “which is mandated to deal with complaints against judges”.
JSC’s Chiloane also confirmed that the complaint had been received.
He said Judge Jansen would only be informed of the complaint if they rule that there is merit in the case and that the matter should be investigated.
“Until then, she will not know about it and you guys (The Star) should not bother her with questions about the complaint. Rather direct all queries to this office (JSC) at the moment,” said Chiloane.
He further said the JCC does not sit for just one case and Le Roux should only expect a determination about the way forward in mid-August after it sits.
Judge Jansen gained infamy in a 2015 Facebook discussion on the public page of film-maker Gillian Schutte.
Judge Jansen made a series of comments, including that 99% of the criminal cases she heard were of “black fathers/uncles/brothers raping children as young as five”.
She wrote: “Want to read my files: rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape of minors by black family members. It is never-ending” in private direct messages – later publicly released by Schutte.
Judge Jansen said that in black culture, “a woman is there to pleasure” men, that women tell their children it is their father’s birthright to be the first, and that gang rapes of babies, mothers and daughters were a “pleasurable pass time”.
Rather than face a complaint filed with the JSC over the comments, Judge Jansen abruptly resigned in May.
At the time of her resignation earlier this year, the JSC had, on recommendation from the JCC, requested Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to appoint a Judicial Conduct Tribunal to investigate whether Judge Jansen should be removed from office.
Her impeachment, however, became irrelevant after President Jacob Zuma accepted her resignation.
This is despite the JSC stating in a document that has been seen by The Star that Judge Jansen’s conduct had the potential to “tarnish the image of the judiciary”.
BLA president Lutendo Sigogo said his organisation will be holding an annual general meeting in October, where a decision of whether to pursue Judge Jansen’s case at the Equality Court will be taken in order to “attain justice” for her remarks.
Le Roux said that if his complaint fell away due to the resignation, he would approach the Supreme Court of Appeal or the Constitutional Court for relief.