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Gaongalelwe Commission omits magistrates

MPHO MOKWAPE
Gaongalelwe's mandate excludes magistrate
The Presidential Commission to review salaries and conditions of senior leadership in the public sector that was commissioned by the President, Mokgweetsi Masisi recently has excluded magistrates.

Information reaching Mmegi is that magistrates will not benefit from the Justice Monametsi Gaongalelwe Commission review.

The Commission is set to review salaries of the President, Vice President, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Cabinet Ministers, Assistant Ministers, Deputy Speaker, Leader of Opposition, Members of Parliament, Judges of the High Court and Court of Appeal, members of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi and councillors.

Despite magistrates being perceived as the integral part of the judiciary, they have been dealt a heavy blow and will not benefit from whatever the recommendations that will be made by the commission and the end of the review.

“We have been excluded as magistrates, but we are the foundation of the Judiciary. We have always been treated like ordinary civil servants and we have been excluded from Judicial Service Act,” a disgruntled senior magistrate said. Magistrates should not be surprised, as  for a long time they have been crying about the unattractive pay.

Just in 2015 during a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting, the judicial administration admitted that the magistracy was not lucrative.

Selebi-Phikwe West legislator Dithapelo

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Keorapetse had said failure by the Administration of Justice (AoJ) to create a lucrative market for magistrates had impacted negatively in attracting top lawyers and attorneys who are well experienced and established.

“Magistrates posts are always filled by inexperienced people because the job itself is not lucrative enough to attract those experienced and this kills the administration of justice,” he said.

Efforts to seek clarity on the matter proved futile as Mmegi was thrown from pillar to post, being referred between Commission secretariat, Office of the President (OP) and the AoJ.

Registrar and Master of the High Court, Michael Motlhabi did not shed much light into the matter.

In response to a questionnaire, Motlhabi said:

“The commission has been set to review the condition of service including that for the judicial officers. I therefore advise you to seek clarity from Commission secretariat”.

The secretariat in turn referred Mmegi to OP and at the time of going to press the office had not yet responded to a questionnaire they had requested.



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