High Court Judge Thomas Masuku has now officially been instructed that he is suspended from the bench with immediate effect.
One source says he has been told the suspension is ‘indefinite’, although under Swaziland’s Constitution judges cannot be suspended for longer than three months. Masuku had a letter delivered to his home on Thursday (30 June 2011).
Masuku seems to have accepted the instruction and is no longer working at the High Court.
Masuku, is being accused by Swaziland Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi of ‘insulting’ King Mswati III and ‘actively associating with those who want to bring about unlawful change to the regime’ – that is associating with pro-democracy activists.
A disciplinary hearing has been set for 11 August 11 2011 before the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). CJ Ramodibedi, who has tabled the accusations against Masuku, which include defying directives of the CJ and ‘touting’ to become chief justice himself, is expected to chair the hearing himself.
In a previous letter sent to Masuku by the chief justice, he was told that he was being suspended in accordance with section 158 (3) of the Swaziland Constitution. This says that a judge can be suspended by the king, acting on the advice of the chief justice.
Secretary of the JSC Lorraine Hlophe is reported in the Swazi News today (2 July 2011) saying, ‘I can confirm that the judge has been suspended. According to the legal instrument, the suspension is indefinite. However, the country’s Constitution stipulates that a suspension of a judge should not exceed three months. I am sure that the matter will be determined soon after completion of investigations.’
SWAZI JUDGE REFUSES SUSPENSION