IOL 03 October 2019

Johannesburg – Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng slammed how the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) assessed the performance of prosecutors by using the conviction rate of their cases as a test for determining their convictions.

Justice Mogoeng was delivering the annual judiciary report at the Constitutional Court on Thursday where he commended the performance of courts.

Justice Mogoeng said the assessment method could force prosecutors to hide information and insist on the conviction of people who were innocent because of the pressure exerted on them by the NPA.

“They will have to insist on convictions even if it is not in the interest of justice to do so,” he said.

He said the prosecuting body had to look for other methods of assessing those who represented the state in criminal cases.

 “Prosecutors do not convict anybody. How then do you credit them or disadvantage them because there have not been convictions? How do you hold them responsible for what magistrate and judges do? You will never be able to tell whether prosecutors do what they are expected to do for as long as you use ‘how many convictions are there and how many acquittals are there’ as a yardstick,” he said.

Speaking on the performance of the judiciary, Justice Mogoeng said superior courts had managed to perform at 70% in the period under review, with the Supreme Court of Appeal  (SCA) performing better than most of them.

“They (SCA) finalised 214 of the 231 cases during this period of reporting. Additional to that they had to contend with 1062 applications which were finalised out of 1095. Our high courts have really done well under extremely challenging circumstances. The statistics are there. They had a total of 145 127 civil cases and finalised 114 650 and had 13 140 criminal cases 10 666,” he said.

He slammed the attacks on the judiciary, including claims that some judges were captured or corrupt, saying there has never been evidence presented to justify the attacks.

Justice Mogoeng said the judiciary had never shied away from holding their own to account when they accused of wrongdoing.

“You may raise concerns about the speed but nobody can legitimately say that when there were allegations levelled against a judicial officer we kept on ducking and diving as if we want to cover up,” he said.

He also revealed that the case of disgraced judge Nkola Motata, drove into the wall of a house in Johannesburg while drunk and allegedly made racist remarks in 2007, would be concluded by the Judicial Conduct Tribunal by next week.

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