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South Africa magistrates living in constant fear

4 years ago | 4687 Views
Pretoria - Last week several magistrates spoke out about how they  live in constant fear and that it has become common occurrence for them to be threatened at gunpoint, stabbed, robbed and intimidated with bomb and death threats by criminals linked to cases they were hearing.

According to the Sunday Times, magistrates say they live in fear for themselves and their families and have had to improve security at their homes to such an extent that they – like the those they put behind bars – are living in fortresses.

Despite this, some said their desperate pleas had fallen on deaf ears and there was little or no response by the justice department, which is supposed to help them when they are threatened.

Magistrates appear to be especially at risk of gangs, because those they are trying have henchmen outside prison to do their “work”.

In April a magistrate who testified in a gang trial fought off a burglar in her house. She was adamant that the attack was related to the trial, after she had received death threats and other witnesses were “taken out”. In another incident a Western Cape magistrate was stabbed by an intruder. In a third case, a Cape magistrate said her life and that of her daughter’s was put in danger while she was hearing a children’s court matter.

“I was woken up when my daughter entered my room with a gun to her head, accompanied by two armed robbers. I was shot at while attempting to flee for help.”

The Sunday Times reported that correspondence from magistrates to the department appears to often go unanswered.  Nazeem Joemath, president of the Judicial Officers’ Association of South Africa, said: “The security of magistrates should be a priority, like all judicial officers. It’s unfortunate that this is not happening.” - News24
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Tags: South Africa,magistrates

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