Johannesburg – The magistrate due to appear at the Carletonville Magistrate’s Court, his own workplace, to face charges of corruption and extortion on Monday allegedly demanded a “mere” R4 000 to ensure two accused women get bail.
Sources close to the sting operation by the Hawks that resulted in the magistrate’s spectacular arrest have told The Star he had demanded R2000 for the bail release of each woman.
This demand was allegedly made to a family member who approached him in his office to get clarity about the women’s continued detention.
Shocked by this clearly illegal demand, the family, in turn, told their lawyer. The family subsequently involved the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Unit, who set a trap.
The 49-year-old magistrate, who cannot be named until he appears before one of his colleagues, was nabbed red-handed late on Thursday with the money after it was handed over to him.
Said a source: “This case is something else. He wanted a mere R4000 from the women, just imagine. What’s R4000 to a magistrate who earns a considerable income? He demanded it for the release of the poor ladies, who work at a tavern.”
Magistrates are among the top earners in the public service.
The women were arrested more than a week ago, based on a theft case opened by their employer. Their bail application has yet to be heard, much to their families’ frustration.
Sources alleged that the magistrate often drank at the tavern and knew the owner very well. They accused him of frustrating the bail application hearing, saying proceedings had inexplicably not started.
“The (tavern) owner and the magistrate drink together. He often goes to the tarvern,” a source said.
“We also suspect that the police officer who registered the case was influenced by the owner to do so. This is a form of state capture.”
The Star has reliably learnt that the man was an acting magistrate and not yet a full-time magistrate.
His arrest has shocked his colleagues. The Association of Regional Magistrates of Southern Africa (Armsa) expressed disdain for the magistrate’s alleged criminality.
“As Armsa we condemn this kind of behaviour, and it should totally be eradicated from magistracy. He’s tarnishing our image as magistrates,” the association’s president, magistrate Sam Makamu, said on Sunday.
The Hawks have confirmed the arrest. Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, a spokesperson for the Hawks, said the women were guaranteed release on bail at their next court appearance.
Speaking to The Star, Mulaudzi would not deny nor confirm that the magistrate wanted R4000 from the two accused.
Mulaudzi said all pertinent information making up the case against the magistrate would be deposed in court.
“We’ll only reveal the details on Monday.”
Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya, the national head of the Hawks, said it was unusual for a magistrate to be arrested for demanding bribes.
“Those who preside over cases in court are expected to conduct themselves in an exemplary manner. They should be beyond reproach,” he said.
By IOL News.