Pumeza Futshane, Head Prosecutor at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court, was suspended from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) pending disciplinary action against her after accusations of among others nepotism and favouritism. AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit has been demanding an investigation into the accusations against Futshane since 2019.
Futshane is married to Andrew Chauke, the Gauteng Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), which means she reports directly to her husband. Prosecutors who work in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court felt that Futshane abused her own and her husband’s positions of power to intimidate and belittle her colleagues.
A prosecutor who worked under Futshane contacted AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit more than a year ago, alleging that Futshane had made xenophobic and racist remarks on a WhatsApp group for prosecutors. The prosecutor approached the Unit because no action had been taken against Futshane – despite complaints that had been brought to the attention of the National Director of Public Prosecutions in October 2019 already. During this time, however, Chauke acted against prosecutors after Futshane had complained about them. Some of the prosecutors were even transferred.
Adv. Gerrie Nel, Head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit, says that AfriForum’s continued pressure on and monitoring of the NPA’s actions led to the formal investigation into Futshane.
“AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit continued to put pressure on the highest office in the NPA to ensure that the complaints against Futshane were investigated. Every prosecutor is supposed to execute their duties without fear, favour or prejudice. We cannot allow the lack of action against Futshane to create the impression that some people are more equal than others,” Adv. Nel says.