SA JUDGE APPOINTED FOR INDUSTRIAL COURT REGISTRAR CASE
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) after having challenges with securing a judge to hear and determine the case of transferred Registrar of the Industrial Court Agrippa Bhembe has appointed a South African Judge.
This, after all the Judges of the Industrial Court of Eswatini recused themselves as they cited close working relationship with the Chief Justice Bheki Maphalala. Following his transfer as Registrar of the Industrial Court to Magistrate at the Nhlangano Magistrate Court, Bhembe filed an urgent application at the Industrial Court challenging the CJ on his transfer.
The JSC appointed Judge John Murphy, who yesterday heard the matter at the Industrial Court which is now situated at the state of the art glass building at Swazi Mobile.
The South African Judge heard the arguments from both counsels Mandla Mkhwanazi for Bhembe and Senior Attorney Zweli Jele of Robinson Bertram who was representing the CJ.
Justice Murphy has reserved judgment in the matter which will be delivered 30 days from hearing of the matter. Following his transfer early this year, Bhembe has been on garden leave on full pay and his fate will now be known after the 30 days has lapsed.
Bhembe was not content with the CJ’s move hence he approached court, seeking an order reviewing and setting aside the decision of the CJ to appoint and transfer him as Nhlangano Magistrate and further declaring the said transfer as unlawful, unfair and irregular and further argued that the appointment be declared void ab initio and with no effect.
Bhembe was replaced by Princess Khulekile Malinga who had been at the Supreme Court.
According to Bhembe in his papers filed before court, he was invited by the chief justice without informing him what the purpose of the invitation was and when in his chambers, the CJ informed him that he had been considered for the position of Nhlangano magistrate despite the fact that he had never applied for the position.
The position was amongst magistrates vacancies that were advertised in December in the local print media.
Bhembe said he explained to the Chief Justice that he was aware of the advertisements but had no interest in the position because of the workload that comes along with it and categorically declined to be considered for that unsolicited appointment.
“To my surprise and dismay on December 4, 2017, the first respondent issued me with a letter purporting to appoint and transfer me to the position of a magistrate serving at Nhlangano Magistrate’s Court, I challenged the respondent’s unilateral actions of transferring me from my position as registrar by writing a grievance letter for same,” Bhembe submitted.
He stated that following the discussion and directive from the CJ that he would be appointed to the position of magistrate, he received a letter from him purporting that the appointment was after due consultations and further directed him to vacate his office and hand over the keys to the Industrial Court president.
Bhembe, who is represented by senior attorney Mandla Mkhwanazi, stated in his papers that he vehemently declined to take the position of magistrate which was being imposed on him without him having applied for same and interviewed to that regard.
He submitted that his present work station is Mbabane where he lives with his family and children all of whom are attending school in Mbabane and that the transfer to Nhlangano will necessitate that he also relocates his children and dependents to Nhlangano and find alternative spaces at schools from that town, which is impossible as schools have already closed applications.
LAW AND ORDER: Judge John Murphy.