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Judge Mabel Jansen tenders her resignation

04 May 2017

Judge Mabel Jansen has written to the President and to the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Adv Michael Masutha, informing them of her resignation with immediate effect. Minister Masutha has acknowledged the letter, thanked her for her valuable service and is processing the letter for the President’s attention.

Judge Jansen was on special leave following comments she made which gave rise to a complaint to the Judicial Services Commission (JSC). The JSC was busy processing the complaint when she tendered her resignation. Her resignation will obviate a protracted disciplinary process. The comments referred to by Judge Jansen were widely reported in the media in 2016 as follows:

In a 2015 Facebook discussion on the public page of film maker Gillian Schutte, Jansen made a series of comments, including that 99% of the criminal cases she heard were of "black fathers/uncles/brothers raping children as young as five".

She said: "Want to read my files: rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape of minors by black family members. It is never-ending." In private direct messages — later publicly released by Schutte — Jansen said that in black culture, "a women is there to pleasure" men, that women tell their children it is their father’s birthright to be the first, and that gang rapes of babies, mothers and daughters were a "pleasurable pass time".

The escalating rate of racial incidents in the country has required government to take steps including the development of the Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill. We are currently evaluating inputs made by members of the public and civic organisations on the Bill.

We are aware that legislation in itself may not end racism but will deter people from racist behaviour. The Department has also developed a draft National Action Plan to Combat Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (NAP) which was subjected to intensive public participation process last year. It is envisaged that the revised NAP will be submitted to Cabinet for approval during 2017. 

Government remains committed to tackling the scourge of racism, in line with our commitment to building a non-sexist, non-racial, democratic and prosperous society in which all our people enjoy equal rights.

Issued by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development          

Mthunzi Mhaga
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services