AUDIO: Mounting calls for judge to be removed

JOHANNESBURG, 10 May 2016 – Judge Mabel Jansen says her comments, which suggest that rape and murder are part of the life for black people, have been taken out of context. The office of the chief justice is expected to respond to her racism accusations. Video: eNCA

* Editors note: This story has been updated with an audio interview with a member of the Black Lawyers Association. 

JOHANNESBURG - The office of the Chief Justice is expected to respond to the racism accusations against Judge Mabel Jansen very soon.

This amid calls for the North Gauteng High Court judge to step down or be fired.

Jansen says her comments -- which suggest that rape and murder are part of life for black people -- have been taken out of context.

A year ago, Jansen got involved in a heated exchange on activist Gillian Schutte’s Facebook wall over an online petition.

It asked that the European Union allow white South Africans to return to Europe.

During the petition debate, Jansen argued that rape was an inherent part of black culture.

Schutte republished the judge’s comments following the backlash against student Ntokozo Qwabe, whose Facebook post about not tipping a white waitress until whites ‘give back the land’ prompted some groups to demand that Oxford University revoke his scholarship.

Now Jansen is facing calls for her removal from office.

“Every single black person, and frankly every South African who is invested in an anti-racist society, should be deeply dismayed by the comments of the judge," said analyst Eusebius McKaiser.

"It is essentialist, it is not just stereotypical, it is racist, and those are not beliefs that someone who is fit and proper for the bench should hold.”

McKaiser, however, argues that Jansen has failed to acknowledge that rape in South Africa is a pervasive social ill and is not simply confined to black people.

The ANC says Jansen’s comments show the need to evaluate whether the judiciary truly is transformed.

“We still need to transform the bench. For someone in that position to make such statements, it rubbishes the notion that the judges are beyond reproach," said ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa.

While the Judicial Service Commission mulls over what action to take, there is also a very real possibility that those black men convicted and sentenced by Jansen, may use her Facebook comments as grounds for appeal. 

* Watch the full video report by Karyn Maughan in the gallery above.


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