Hon Speaker, I present to you the report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development on the proposed provisional suspension of Magistrate M J Kgomo. Mr Kgomo was appointed to the magistracy in July 2000. He is at present an additional magistrate at the Randburg District Court. On the afternoon of 5 December 2013, Mr Kgomo was arrested and appeared in the Randburg Regional Court the following day on a charge of corruption.
It is alleged that Mr Kgomo demanded and received an amount of R150 000 in exchange for positively influencing the outcome of an appeal against extradition brought by a complainant in a particular matter. In the matter referred to, the complainant faces charges of corruption in another country amounting to R20 million.
It is further alleged that the amount of R150 000 was recovered from Mr Kgomo's briefcase in his office, in his presence. Mr Kgomo was afforded an opportunity to comment on the desirability of his provisional suspension from office by the Magistrates' Commission. Having considered Mr Kgomo's response on 4 February 2014, the commission resolved to recommend that he be provisionally suspended from office in terms of section 13(3)(a) of the Magistrates Act, Act 90 of 1993, pending the Magistrates' Commission's investigation into his fitness to hold office.
The Magistrates' Commission is of the view that the charge against Mr Kgomo is of such a serious nature as to make it inappropriate for him to perform the functions of a magistrate whilst the allegations are being investigated. It is also the commission's view, which we share, that it is inappropriate for any judicial officer appearing as an accused before a court of law on a charge of corruption to still sit on the Bench.
Whilst Mr Kgomo has not been found guilty in any court of law or in any disciplinary hearing, the charge and existing evidence against Mr Kgomo are of such a serious nature that they would justify his removal from office should he be found guilty of the misconduct charges preferred against him. For all these reasons, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development decided to provisionally suspend Mr Kgomo as a magistrate with immediate effect, with the retention of his remuneration, pending the outcome of the investigation into his fitness to hold office. The portfolio committee agrees with the hon Minister's determination.
Having considered the request by the Magistrates' Commission to provisionally suspend Mr Kgomo from office, the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development therefore recommends that the National Assembly confirms Mr Kgomo's provisional suspension. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
There was no debate.