CHIEF Justice Michael Ramodibedi is alleged to have issued warrants of arrest for three High Court Judges.
Ramodibedi allegedly issued the warrants last Friday but the police have so far not executed them. The judges wanted in by the CJ are, namely, Justices Mumcy Dlamini, Bheki Maphalala and Mbutfo Mamba. It is said the Court Chief feels the three are ignoring his orders and bringing the High Court into disrepute.
According to a reliable source at the High Court, the Chief Justice alleges that Judge Bheki Maphalala is influencing his staff members not to take orders from him. Maphalala, according to the source, is spearheading a High Court rebellion.
Judge Mamba is alleged to have tried taking over the bail application of The Nation Editor Bheki Makhubu and Human Rights Lawyer.
This is alleged to have angered the CJ and he decided to have him also arrested. “Judge Mumcy is the number one enemy of the CJ. It is no surprise that she has been included in the list of those whose warrants of arrest were issued,” the source alleged.
Judge Mumcy has on record ruled that the CJ erred in the way he issued the warrants of arrest that landed The Nation Editor Bheki Makhubu and Thulani Maseko in jail. She released the duo but they were later re-arrested soon after gaining freedom.
The CJ appealed Mumcy’s decision citing at least seven mistakes he alleges she never considered before coming out with the ruling.
Last Thursday, the CJ is alleged to have highlighted in his chambers that he no longer trusted most of the Judges of the High Court. This is alleged to have transpired when The Law Society of Swaziland wanted their application for the removal of Judge Mpendulo Simelane allocated a judge. The Chief Justice is alleged to have failed to allocate the matter and highlighted that he no longer trusted most of the judges.
The Law Society then approached the Principal Judge, who according to the Constitution, can allocate matters if the CJ is indisposed. This move backfired as Lawyer Lucky Howe and the legal team from the AG’s office were latterly summoned to the CJ’s chambers.
A source close to one of the judges also revealed to this publication that he had been called by the judge asking him if he had heard about the circulating rumours of the warrants of arrest.
Should the warrants be effected and the judges arrested, the CJ is alleged to have planned to appoint interim judges who will deal with the Law Society, which wants a full bench to listen to their application calling for the firing of newly appointed Judge Mpendulo Simelane. The CJ is alleged to be afraid to have the three judges sit in the full bench and listen to the Judge Mpendulo case as they might rule against him. Registrar of the High Court Fikile Nhlabatsi was uncooperative when contacted about the matter yesterday, denying any knowledge of such.