A group of Bromwell Street residents, who are facing eviction from their homes in Woodstock, have recently lodged a Judicial Services Commission complaint and a recusal application against the Acting Judge Leslie Weinkove for alleged discriminatory comments made during court proceedings. Legal representatives for Bromwell street residents said they are concerned that the Judge has a particular bias which might influence his decision.
The Ndifuna uKwazi Law Centre has lodged a complaint with the Justice Service Commission after their clients noted concerns about the treatment they received from Weinkove. Residents have been in on-going court appearances, challenging the City of Cape Town’s plan to relocated them to the Wolwerivier settlement after they were evicted from houses in Woodstock’s Bromwell Street. Mitchell De Beer, a legal representative for the Bromwell street residents said that residents were concerned about comments the Judge made about the ability of residents to understand certain things.
[pullquote]”The judge questioned why certain unemployed people would need to be close to the city and employment opportunities which we think is absolutely inappropriate.”[/pullquote]
According to De Beer, it was concerning that people’s experience or their level of expertise could be questioned by an officer of the law.
“One of our clients is a kitchen assistant in observatory and she made submissions in the papers about other parcels of land within the city of Cape Town that could be used to provide emergency housing and the judge sort of, questioned whether or not a kitchen assistant would be able to understand that, ” he explained.
Ndifuna uKwazi wants Judge Leslie Weinkove to recuse himself from the Bromwell case
The judges comments carried an amount of prejudice in assuming that residents were unable to understand how the housing system worked. The judge questioned whether or not residents needed to be close to the city. De Beer said this was inappropriate as the Bromwell street residents come from disadvantaged backgrounds and are a vulnerable group.
[pullquote]”These sort of comments go completely against and judicial ethics and any code of conduct.”[/pullquote]
“The judge questioned why certain unemployed people would need to be close to the city and employment opportunities which we think is absolutely inappropriate because unemployed people need to be able to find employment opportunities and moving them from where employment opportunities are, is very prejudicial to their interest,” De Beer explained.
This type of conduct from a judge has been categorized as unethical by Ndifuna uKwazi,
“These sort of comments go completely against and judicial ethics and any code of conduct,” said De Beer.
He added that Bromwell residents fear Judge Weinkove is being biased and that this may have affect his ruling on their case,
“Our clients were concerned that he would be bias towards them because of their socio-econimc status.”
The recusal application is for hearing in May. The organisation is now waiting for the Judicial Service Commission, to get back to them following their complaint against Judge Leslie Weinkove.
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