Sonke and JDI Have Filed a Complaint for Misconduct Against Magistrate Herman Badenhorst
- August 15, 2013
Sonke Gender Justice (Sonke) and Just Detention International (JDI) have a filed a complaint against Magistrate Herman Badenhorst to the Gauteng Regional Court President Modibede Djaje. This follows the organisations’ review of the official transcript of Magistrate Badenhorst’s sentencing, on the 15 July 2013 of Mr Molaudzi for rape and robbery of a 13-year old in The State v Neo Molaudzi. The transcript records that the Magistrate stated:
We cannot just sit around here and say oh, you know Johannesburg is the rape capital of the world. We have to prevent this recurring. In prison we cannot prevent you committing rape. You can always rape the other inmates if you are so inclined, but at least you will not be close to children and will not be able to rape children. (Emphasis supplied)
The Regulations for Judicial Officers of Lower Courts stipulate that a Magistrate may be accused of misconduct for contravening the Code of Conduct. JDI and Sonke argue that Magistrate Badenhorst’s statements contravened several provisions in the Code, particularly those concerning his duty to act with absolute integrity, to administer justice without prejudice, to execute his duties objectively and with courtesy and self-control, and to obey the laws of the land.
Sasha Gear, Director of Just Detention International states, “Sexual violence is a regular occurrence in prisons. Condoning and failing to prevent prisoner rape does nothing to prevent rape from occurring in our society – to the contrary, it has a devastating impact on the victims and contributes to the perpetuation of violence in South Africa”.
Sonke’s prisons policy specialist, Emily Keehn states, “The Office of the Magistrate must remember that the Sexual Offences Act applies equally to everyone, including inmates. Rape in prison is a serious violation of South Africa’s laws and constitutional protections, and was even recognised as torture by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture”
Magistrate Badenhorst’s statement sends the signal that it is ‘okay’ to rape as long as it occurs within the confines of prison. This is clearly not the correct position in law or ethics and reflects discrimination against the rights and dignity of prisoners. Sonke and JDI will monitor the Office of the Magistrate’s handling of this case until its conclusion.