Judge Mbutfo Mamba granted Pastor Sikhumbuzo Shongwe bail despite public opinion suggesting that he must rot in jail for shooting his wife, this is what is expected from a Judge, decide a case based on evidence not on emotions or public opinion.
Even though I am one of those who condemned Sikhumbuzo and was of the view that he must not be granted bail as a deterrence against the ongoing domestic violence, it is encouraging to see Judges who are independent and determine cases based on the facts presented before them.
Justice is fairness and regardless of our opinions in the conduct of Sikhumbuzo, if he was able to convince the court why he must be granted bail, it was indeed, in the interest of justice to release him.
It should be noted that we do have independent and credible Judges within the Judiciary, it’s just that some of them were strategically appointed to deal with political cases and take orders from Mswati.
It is for these reasons, Chief Justice Bheki Maphalala and or Registrar of the High Court cannot allocate politically motivated cases to independent minded Judges like Qinisile Mabuza and Mbutfo Mamba because their judgements are always based on evidence not political influence.
These Judges, despite being senior were sidelined by CJ during the appointment of Supreme Court Judges merely for being independent.
It should be noted that some of us know the Judges one-by-one, one of the promising Judges is Judge Titus Mlangeni who delivered a judgement against Sincemphetelo Motor Vehicle Accident Fund(SMVAF) that was refusing to compensate an accident victim merely because he didn’t recognize a number plate for the vehicle that knocked him down.
Judge Mlangeni earned respect for that judgement, he demonstrated that courts, being the last hope for the poor man on the street must always uphold the principles of justice and be fair.
Now, Judge Mbutfo Mamba demonstrated that a bail application by its nature is urgent and as a result, he delivered his judgement fairly and timely.
Even though Sikhumbuzo committed a crime which he claimed was in self-defense, he demonstrated accountability before the law by handing himself to the police to justify why he committed a crime.
Personally and in my opinion, the country including judiciary must work collectively to fight gender based violence but that should be done in accordance with the law.
But despite my personal opinion with the conduct of Sikhumbuzo who continues to abuse women, as an editor, I have an obligation to analyze objectively in the public interest.
The presumption of innocence until proven guilty suggests that Sikhumbuzo is innocent until the State convinced the court during a trial that indeed, he is guilty of attempted murder charges.
An independent minded Judge will not deny a suspect bail based on public opinion and or political motives, unless the evidence presented suggests that releasing those suspects might be dangerous to their lives or undermine peace and stability.
Judge Mumcy Dlamini is a disgrace to the judiciary system. But she is not the only one, there are other Judges like Nkululeko Hlophe who awarded former SNAT Secretary General Muzi Mhlanga a mere forty thousand(E40,000.00) after the unionist was assaulted by the police during a protest.
In the eyes of Judge Nkululeko Hlophe, a unionist who was forced into disability by the police by losing his tooth deserves E40,000.00 merely for being critical of the system but a traditionalist Gelane Zwane who happened to be CJ Bheki Maphalala’s Acting Chief who was allegedly defamed by the Times deserved E500,000.00.
It later transpired that Judge Hlophe would sometimes call journalists of the Times to complain about certain articles written about him and for this reason, we have a reason to believe that as a revenge against the newspaper, he granted Gelane Zwane E500,000.00.
Apart from the media capture, that judgement on its own contributed to the decline in the standard of journalism it was not only an intimidation tactic against journalists but amounts to judicial dictatorship.
What was so special about Gelane’s integrity to deserve such huge amount of money and why did Nkululeko concluded that a unionist who is critical of the Tinkhundla system and who was heavily assaulted by the police is worth E40,000.00? What a shame Your Lordship!
We hope this country will be democratized soon so that we can remove these corrupt and captured Judges like Nkululeko Hlophe whose legal minds was long polluted by the political system.
The conduct of captured Judges like Nkululeko Hlophe and Mumcy Dlamini might trigger public disorder because people will start taking the law into their own hands against the police knowing that even if they were forced into disability by the police, Judges will protect the State.
It is important not to paint all Judges with the same brush, we must name the corrupt and captured Judges so that people can know them, many innocent suspects are languishing in jail because of Judge Hlophe and Mumcy Dlamini.
The least is said about Mumcy, she demonstrated that she was acting on a royal order by indefinitely postponing a judgement for a bail application filed by pro-democracy Members of Parliament(MPs) Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube.
As mentioned, a bail application by its nature is urgent, Judge Mumcy must learn from Justice Mbutfo Mamba on how he handled Sikhumbuzo Shongwe’s case, she must remove sicholo and sidvwaba when dealing with court cases and be a Judge.
In conclusion, let me warn Chief Justice Bheki Maphalala who sidelined independent minded Judges for the Supreme Court positions,that no amount of oppression against the people and those who advocate for justice shall prevail.
We expect Judges to be fair and be accountable to the Constitution not Mswati and other corrupt syndicates within the corridors of power.
Judges Mbutfo Mamba and Qinisile Mabuza.