Farmer goes af­ter Judge Jansen

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - KHAYA KOKO

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.

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