Mbabane: The Gender Consortium under the Coordinating Assembly of Non-Governmental Organisations (CANGO) has slammed the decision taken by the Judicial Service Commission of appointing Senior Phathaphatha Mdluli to be Principal Magistrate.
“The Gender Consortium has learnt with shock the news of the appointment of Senior Magistrate Phathaphatha Mdluli to the post of Principal Magistrate,” the consortium said in a statement issued by Colani Hlatshwayo, Chairperson of the Gender Consortium
Hlatshwayo went on to say that as a consortium, “we are still in shock and have not forgotten that Mdluli has pending allegations of abuse against his wife, much against the dictates of the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act of 2018 (SODV).”
The consortium, expressed its shockwave more so because the embattled Mdluli has not yet faced trial in a court of law for the allegations levelled against him.
Strikingly, the consortium is calling for the reversal of Mdluli’s appointment and for charges of gender-based violence to be levelled against him. It stressed that the law must be seen to equally apply to all citizens.
Mdluli stands accused of allegedly assaulting his wife who ended up being hospitalized. “Instead of Mdluli standing his day in the court of law for these allegations where he shall be either exonerated or prosecuted for his transgressions, he is being rewarded by the Judicial Service Commission with a much senior position,” the consortium further said.
Additionally, the consortium said: “The Gender Consortium marched and lobbied the National Commissioner for Royal Eswatini Police Service and the Director of Public Prosecutions. It is saddening that after these efforts, perceptions confirm that the law in this country favours the powerful when it should equally protect all citizens without fear or favour.”
The Gender Consortium said “we should remember that ours is still a society engulfed by higher rates of gender-based violence where women and children are most affected. If the country does not show political will to eradicate this scourge, all our actions are in vain.”
The Gender Consortium is a network that seeks to create an enabling environment aimed at creating equal opportunities and services for men, women, boys and girls. It also focuses on gender inequality issues, gender programming and gender response in Eswatini.
According to Eswatini Observer, Mdluli confirmed his appointment. Mdluli has been holding fort as acting Principal Magistrate at Pigg’s Peak following the retirement of Magistrate Joe Gumede.
Last week the JSC appointed Magistrate Vusi Thomo who will also be based at Pigg’s Peak Magistrate’s Court with effect from Monday.
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