A disciplinary enquiry into the conduct of Pumeza Futshane, Chief Prosecutor at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court, has found that she must be fired from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) after she was found guilty of making racist and xenophobic comments. AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit has been demanding an investigation into the accusations against Futshane since 2019 and she was suspended in March 2021 due to these, as well as other, allegations against her pending this enquiry.
Adv. Gerrie Nel, Head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit, says that AfriForum’s continued pressure on and monitoring of the NPA’s actions contributed to the implementation of a disciplinary enquiry into Futshane. “The Private Prosecution Unit has respect for hardworking prosecutors who do their day jobs with integrity, and we got involved in this matter to ensure that such prosecutors are truly able to perform their duties without fear, favour or prejudice.”
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 two years 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.
“The ruling following the disciplinary enquiry is a victory for the prosecutor who approached us and refused to succumb to pressure (including transferal). Our office was established with the aim of reestablishing equality before the law and this is what took place here. We also want to commend the NPA for following through with the disciplinary enquiry,” Adv. Nel concludes.