Bromwell residents lodge complaint against judge

The Bromwell Street residents, assisted by the Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre, lodged a Judicial Services Commission complaint and a recusal application against Acting Judge Leslie Weinkove, yesterday, Wednesday April 5.

The residents who are facing eviction and a proposed move to Wolwerivier, had their case heard at the Western Cape High Court earlier this year in which acting Judge Weinkove presided over proceedings.

According to the application, Judge Weinkove made “disparaging remarks” against the residents.

“Our clients believe that, in hearing their matter, Acting Judge Weinkove impugned their dignity and violated their right to fair access to the courts.

“Acting Judge Weinkove made a number of disparaging remarks against our clients. These included insinuations that unemployed people do not need to be close to opportunities and services,” said Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre, attorney Disha Govender.

Ms Govender said that the Bromwell residents experienced prejudice against them by the court, pointing out that the Code of Judicial Conduct states that “The multi-cultural nature of South African society calls for special sensitivity for the perceptions and sensibilities of all who are affected by court proceedings”.

Ms Govender said this code was important, given the historical legacy of the legal system being used to entrench apartheid and disenfranchise the majority of the South African population.

“Where judges make comments which degrade a person because of their socio-economic and employment status, it serves to further exclude and alienate the most vulnerable persons in our society who often are the most in need of the court’s assistance.

“Our clients have brought this application and complaint because they believe that Acting Judge Weinkove should be recused and sanctioned,” said Ms Govender. The recusal application has been set down for argument on Wednesday May 17 and Thursday May 18.

Speaking on behalf of the Bromwell Street residents in February, Charnell Commando said: “We cannot survive in a place like Wolwerivier.

“What we found there was truly shocking (“‘Why we don’t want Wolverivier’”, Tatler, February 2).

“Wolwerivier is on a farm in the middle of the bush.

“There are no work opportunities, schools, shops or healthcare facilities there. Many of us work, go to school and attend hospital near the city,” she said.