Assistant Registrar of the High Court, Dumisani Basupi is fighting to stop the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) from making a recommendation for the President to dismiss him from work.
Basupi who was once a Magistrate in Hukuntsi had disciplinary proceedings instituted against her by the JSC after being found to have abused office and having lied under oath by the court.
The proceedings she wants to interdict emanated from civil proceedings instituted against him by Dumi Serole who had claimed that when Basupi was a magistrate he detained him unlawfully. In his court appearance yesterday, Basupi through his lawyer Ofentse Khumomotse indicated that he seeks to interdict disciplinary proceedings against him levelled by the chairperson of the JSC.
According to his founding affidavit, Basupi received a letter on September 12, 2019 indicating that the JSC had satisfied itself that he had abused office and be surcharged P40, 000 as the first count while in respect of the second count of lying under oath that he be dismissed from work.
He explained that having been aggrieved by the findings of the JSC, he caused a statutory notice indicating that upon 30-day lapse, he would approach court for a review of the decision of the High Court. “Accordingly, I implored the JSC to furnish an undertaking on or before the September 19, 2019 that it would not take or effect any further steps in the disciplinary process in particular recommending to the President for a dismissal,” he said. Basupi also submitted that to date the JSC has not responded to his letter despite having acknowledged receipt therefore his application had to be heard because if not he stands to suffer harm.
He pointed out that once the recommendation is placed before the President, then its outcome was reasonably foreseeable if not certain.
Basupi further said the JSC’s actions warranted a review because the order of the High Court asked them to consider the judgement, meaning the JSC was to investigate the findings of the court and consequently make any finding of any misconduct on his part not subject him to disciplinary hearing.
“On the above factors, it is proper that the court grants an interdict to freeze the status quo until such time that the court would make its determination,” he said.
At the heart of the matter is that Basupi had once met Serole at a bar while still a Magistrate and had said to him “o nwe bojalwa hela jalo o bo o tsamaela Kang, mapodisi ba go tshware ba go hupise tami bago tlise kwa go nna gore ke go tlhatlhele”.
Following an altercation, the duo came face to face at court one time where the Serole faced a charge of hunting without a licence. Then he asked Basupi to recuse himself from the case of which he refused.
Serole claimed that he made the application for recusal, as the Magistrate was hostile towards him as the relationship between them was not good.
According to court documents, Serole was later detained for seven days after the Magistrate confronted him about his hairstyles and the glasses he was wearing. After his detentions, Serole instituted proceedings against Basupi seeking compensation of P90, 000 but the High Court in its findings awarded him P40, 000.
Then the JSC surcharged Basupi to pay the damages awarded to Serole and now he faces dismissal from work. The case continues before Justice Omphemetse Motumise on October 3.