Judge in hot water for criticising King Dalindyebo

JANUARY 14, 2016

The Society for the Protection of our Constitution (SPC) has filed a complaint against a Supreme Court of Appeal judge for calling jailed AbaThembu King Buyelekhay Dalindyebo a "tyrannical and despotic king".

SPC Secretary Muhammed Vawda accused Judge Mahomed Navsa of "attacking" or being "complicit" in attacking the king "more than 20 times in 83 paragraphs" in an SCA judgment that sent the king to prison.

The SPC said Navsa’s conduct in court brought the administration of justice into disrepute and made many South Africans lose faith in the justice system.

“Allowing judges to attack tribal leaders in court is against a judge’s ethics but also places a wedge between tribal constituency and others. Judges that conduct themselves like Navsa bring the administration of justice into disrepute... We would like feedback regarding an appropriate sanction against Navsa,” Vawda wrote.

The SPC took issue with the judgment calling Dalindyebo a “tyrannical and despotic king” and describing him as “a man who ruled by fear and intimidation”. 

Dalindyebo was sentenced to 12 years in prison for crimes related to the treatment of some of his subjects in 1995 and 1996. Last week Dalindyebo was admitted to hospital after a hunger strike in protest against his incarceration.