The National Assembly has passed a resolution to allow the suspension of the Chief Magistrate of the East London Magistrate’s Court, VT Gqiba, for misconduct.
This comes after the Magistrate’s commission requested Justice Minister Michael Masutha to affect Gqiba’s suspension following allegations of fraudulent claims made in 2015.
The Justice Committee says various allegations brought against Magistrate Gqiba through the commission include, unauthorised and fraudulent travel and subsistence claims, the payment for air-tickets and car rental into her personal account while the department had already paid for the tickets.
Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli presided over the debate. “Are there any objections to the adoption of the recommendation of the committee, namely that the suspension from office of Magistrate Gqiba be confirmed? No objections. Agreed to.”
The National Assembly resolution now paves way for the formal suspension of Magistrate Gqiba and ultimately her removal from office.
Meanwhile, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) Chief Whip Narend Singh who supported the suspension of Gqiba says the state and Parliament should act with the same vigour against officials who commit fraud.
“The IFP shares the commission’s view that a judicial officer must act with integrity at all times because it is a judicial officer that metes out justice. Although the financial loss is not great, It is R10 000 or R12 000. I think that is not the point, the fact is that the person transgressed as a person of authority. We will support the removal of the magistrate but one appeal is that we act with the same resolute with government officials who are defrauding us millions greater than the R12 000.”