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Court appearance of Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair

10 October 2022

The Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services is aware of the appearance of the Pretoria Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court earlier today on charges of corruption. These are criminal charges which will be decided by a court of law.

In addition to the criminal charges, misconduct proceedings, as provided for in the Magistrates Act, 1993 and the Code of Judicial Conduct for Magistrates, have been instituted against Mr Nair. There are two stages to misconduct proceedings. There is, firstly, an internal investigation conducted by the Magistrates Commission. Thereafter, there is a Parliamentary procedure.

The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Mr Ronald Lamola, on advice of the Magistrates Commission, provisionally suspended Mr Nair on 24 February 2020.

Thereafter a report was submitted to Parliament to pass a resolution as to whether or not the provisional suspension can be confirmed, as is required in terms of the Magistrates Act. Parliament confirmed the suspension of Mr Nair and the misconduct proceedings instituted by the Magistrates Commission against him are in progress. The Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr John Jeffery, has on numerous occasions expressed his concerns to the Magistrates Commission regarding delays in misconduct proceedings against magistrates.

Regarding the criminal charges upon which Mr Nair has appeared in court earlier today, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services has stated that, “All persons are equal before the law, whether they are lay persons or officers of the court. The law must now take its course, as it would in every criminal case. Justice must not only be done, but manifestly be seen to be done.”

Issued by the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services

Mr Chrispin Phiri
Spokesperson: Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services
Cell: 081 781 2261