‘No more delays’: Tribunal warns suspended Judge Makhubele
The judicial tribunal was postponed to January for Judge Makhubele to resolve her legal fees matters.
Suspended High Court Judge Tintswalo Anna Makhubele. Photo: Judges Matter
The judicial tribunal into suspended High Court Judge Tintswalo Nana Makhubele on Monday told her she would have to turn to the courts next time she seeks a postponement.
Monday’s sitting was supposed to continue after it was postponed in August due to her unpaid legal fees.
But her lawyer Thomas Sibuyi told the tribunal that Makhubele needed more time to iron out legal fees issues with the State Attorney.
Sibuyi said a letter from the State Attorney’s office agreeing to fund Makhubele’s legal fees was only received on Friday.
“What is outstanding is the tariffs, no agreement has been reached with Judge Makhubele on tariffs, she needs time to negotiate with the office of the State Attorney,” he said.
Will her lawyers agree with the state’s tariffs?
Retired Judge Seun Moshidi raised concerns about whether Makhubele’s lawyers, Mabuza Attorneys, will agree to the state’s pricing.
“You speak about Friday’s letter from the State Attorney, my worry is what happens if the tariff is not agreed upon.
“Remember in the last meeting there was a threat to take the State Attorney on review? The question is, can we anticipate an application to the high court to review that tariff?” asked Moshidi.
Sibuyi assured the tribunal that there would be no delays and that the hearing would continue.
Advocate Vincent Maleka, SC, had been arguing on behalf of Makhubele as instructed by Mabuza Attorneys.
Tribunal chairperson, retired Judge President Achmat Jappie said Makhubele would have to approach outside forums if she needed a further postponement.
“Let me say this – I am sympathetic to her position but I am saying ‘no more’. I have discussed with colleagues that when we meet again we move forward.
“The 22nd of January 2024 is the deadline, if she’s not in a position to proceed she will have to provide reasons or approach the court for an interdict or any other forum.”
Sibuyi was requested to provide the tribunal with Makhubele’s final agreement with the State Attorney at the end of this month.
Charges against Makhubele
Lobby group #UniteBehind laid a complaint against Makhubele in 2019, accusing her of violating judicial ethics and causing a conflict of interest when she took over as chairperson of the Prasa board in 2017 while a high court judge.
Judges are required to relinquish all positions before taking up appointments as full-time members of the judiciary.
Makhubele further faces misconduct allegations for her involvement and alleged disruption of the Siyaya Rail Solutions’ litigation against Prasa.
Siyaya received a R60 million settlement from Prasa, thanks to alleged assistance from Makhubele.
The company had almost R1 billion worth of contracts with Prasa, with its owners linked to ex-Prasa CEO Lucky Montana.
The Siyaya matter saw Makhubele dragged to the commission of inquiry into state capture, where she reluctantly delivered her oral evidence, denying any wrongdoing.
She remains the only judge to appear before the state capture commission.