The Magistrate's Commission
The Magistrate's Commission is a statutory body established in terms of the Magistrate's Act, No. 90 of 1993. The Commission is chaired by a judge, designated by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice.
The objects of the Commission are amongst others, as follows:
- To promote continuous training of magistrates appointed in the Magistrates’ Courts [District and Regional Courts].
- To advise the Minister regarding the appointment of magistrates.
- To advise or to make recommendations to, or report to the Minister, for information of Parliament regarding any matter which is of interest for the independence in the dispensing of justice and the efficiency of the administration of justice in the Magistrates’ Courts.
- To carry out investigations and make recommendations to the Minister regarding the suspension and removal from office of magistrates.
The functions of the Magistrate's Commission are, in order to achieve its objects, amongst others as follows:
- To carry out or cause to be carried out any investigation it deems necessary.
- To obtain access to official information or documents.
- To summon any person to appear before it for questioning or require from any person a written explanation in respect of any matter falling within the ambit of the Commission’s objects.
Any conduct by a magistrate that is alleged to be improper may be reported to the Judicial Head of the Court wherein the magistrate concerned presides.
A complaint against a magistrate must be reported by means of a written declaration under oath or affirmation, specifying -
- the nature of the matter;
- the grounds on which an investigation is viewed necessary;
- the names of the magistrate, other persons involved and of any witnesses;
- the date and time of the incident(s), and
- all other relevant information known to the complainant.
If the complainant is of the view that his/her concerns have not been properly or adequately addressed by the Judicial Head of Court, the complainant may direct his/her complaint to the Secretary of the Magistrate's Commission at the following address:
Secretary of the Magistrate's Commission [as from 21 Jan 2017]:
Mr Vick Misser
5th Floor, Center Walk Building (West Tower), c/o Thabo Sehume & Pretorius Streets, PRETORIA
P O Box 9096, PRETORIA, 0001
Tel: +27 12 325 3951
Fax: +27 12 325 3957/ +27 12 326 0094
Please note that in terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act, No. 108 of 1996, the courts are independent and subject only to the Constitution and the law. The Magistrate's Commission is therefore not empowered to interfere with the judicial discretion of a magistrate. An aggrieved party who is dissatisfied with a judgment, ruling or sentence may approach a court of higher jurisdiction for review or appeal.