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CGE: KZN magistrate's suspension must be lesson to others

Magistrate Kholeka Bodlani was placed on suspension last week by Justice Minister Ronald Lamola while the Magistrates’ Commission investigated the shockingly lenient sentences that she handed to child rapists.

Picture: SAPS/facebook.com

JOHANNESBURG - The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) at the weekend said that South Africa’s judicial system was “self-correcting” following the provisional suspension of KwaZulu-Natal acting regional magistrate Kholeka Bodlani.

Bodlani was placed on suspension last week by Justice Minister Ronald Lamola while the Magistrates’ Commission investigated the shockingly lenient sentences she handed to child rapists.

In one of her latest cases, Bodlani imposed only a suspended sentence on a man who had sexually assaulted a six-year-old girl. At the time, she said that the child had shown no obvious signs of trauma.

The CGE’s spokesperson Javu Baloyi said that the magistrate’s judgments had undermined the dignity and trauma experienced by survivors of gender-based violence.

Baloyi said that while the commission respected the independence of the judiciary, Bodlani’s suspension should be seen as a lesson to other magistrates and judges.

“The CGE, although satisfied with the move by Minister Lamola, will keenly await the outcome of the investigation by the Magistrates’ Commission. Whilst, the CGE respects the independence of the judiciary, this suspension should be seen as a lesson to other magistrates and judges to act with sensitivity when presiding over with gender-based violence and other gender-related cases,” he said.

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