House Chairperson, the report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on the suspension and removal from office of magistrate I Meyburgh, an additional magistrate at Johannesburg, in terms of section 13(4)(b) of the Magistrates Act, 1993 (No 90 of 1993), dated 6 March 2020.
Since her appointment on the 1 October 2015, Ms Meyburgh has largely been absent from work due to continued ill-heath. It has also been difficult to evaluate Ms Meyburgh's performance on the bench for purposes of possible permanent appointments as she has been unable to produce any work on which her fitness to hold office could be assessed. To date, Ms Meyburgh
has not returned to the office and has not completed the required probationary period for aspirant magistrate.
On 14 March 2018, Ms Meyburgh's attention was drawn to the provisions of Regulation 29 of the Regulation on Judicial officers in the Lower Courts, setting out the procedure that is followed when a magistrate is removed from office due to continued ill-health. Ms Meyburgh was afforded an opportunity to comment and state her case in response.
On 18 May 2018, the Magistrate's Commission considered the documentation presented to it regarding Ms Meyburgh's continued ill-health and ordered that an investigation be held regarding her fitness to continue to hold office on account of ill-health.
Ms Meyburgh was informed of the investigation in a letter dated, 23 May 2018 and was requested to submit a medical report from a medical practitioner of her choice to the commission. Ms Meyburgh's representative submitted the required medical report dated 21 October 2018, which found that Ms Meyburgh was unable to return to work.
In a letter dated 18 April 2019, the commission gave Ms Meyburgh an opportunity to comment. Ms Meyburgh's representative provided the commission with her comments but the response did not address the commission's opinion that she is not fit to hold office as magistrate any longer due to continued ill-health and that a recommendation to suspend her from office would be justified.
Further, the responses did not show cause as to why the commission should not determine to withhold her remuneration forthwith. Neither Ms Meyburgh nor her representatives responded to the commission's subsequent clarifying letter.
On 2 August 2019, the commission met and resolved to recommend that Ms Meyburgh be suspended from office due to continued ill-health; and determined that her remuneration be withheld with effect from the date on which the Minister suspends her from office. On the recommendation of the commission, the Minister duly suspended Ms Meyburgh from office on the 26 November 2019, and tabled the report for consideration by Parliament.
Having considered the report, tabled on 27 November 2019, by the Minister for Justice and Correctional Services, on the suspension from office of Ms I Meyburgh, the committee recommends that the National Assembly resolve not to restore Ms I Meyburgh to office as magistrate. I thank you. [Applause.]
Declarations of vote: