Accountability system for magistrates gets thumbs-up

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Accountability system for magistrates gets thumbs-up

Despite the flattering report, magistrates are guilty before proven innocent in the court of public opinion

Franny Rabkin

Since 2001, parliament has received 50 cases of potentially impeachable conduct by magistrates, and in 18 of these, magistrates were removed from office – a sign that accountability processes for magistrates are working, according to a report (https://www.magistratesmatter.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Magistrates-Conduct-Report-web-ready.pdf) released on Thursday.

Most South Africans who come into contact with the courts will do so with the magistrates’ courts, said the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit (DGRU) in its report – the first comprehensive study on the disciplinary processes for magistrates.


The report describes the magistrates’ courts as the “coalface” of the justice system. Yet, according to the most recent Afrobarometer survey in 2018, 32% of citizens say most or all of magistrates and judges are corrupt, while 47% of South Africans have no or little trust in magistrates...

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