Dismissed East London magistrate Xoliswa Stuurman was known for her scathing rebukes of those who crossed her.
The presiding officer at her disciplinary hearing, Germiston magistrate Mumtaz Dawray held that Stuurman’s “nasty remarks and unpleasant language” were aggravating factors leading to her dismissal from her job.
Some comments were as bizarre as they were pugnacious. To court clerk Nondumiso Mdingi, she said: “You are witchcraft… you are using medicine… you are a witch.”
“I will treat your email as if it has not arrived and delete it,” she wrote in correspondence with Niehaus McMahon attorneys.
Stuurman’s choice phrases highlighted during her disciplinary tribunal included:
“You are called upon to stop running this institution like a shebeen where a patron would in a drunken stupor just stand up and address anyone who cared to listen.” – In an email to senior court officials regarding a colleague.
In a letter to Chief Magistrate Valerie Gqiba, she said: “Your decision was based solely on your vindictiveness… tainted with your boundless and uncontrollable hatred of me.”
“You are lying through your teeth again,” she pronounced in an email to colleague Fanie Stander, acting chief magistrate at the time, whom she also accused of a “propensity to be a stranger to the truth” and of being on a crusade to destroy her career. She also said of Stander:
- “You are taking this ‘acting chief magistracy’ thing too much, as a result you are over-compensating.”
- “Is that what you are discussing with your crew when you are discussing magistrates, magistrates whose guts you hate?”
- “When are you going to stop? Aren’t you tired of peddling a dead horse?”
- “Stop dragging me down to your level of gossip mongering which you worship… I grew up in a society where gossip mongering and males don’t go hand in hand.”
- “I am a magistrate independent from your control.”
- “As a judicial officer, there is a certain level of intelligence which is expected from you.”
Fellow magistrate Robyn Tyler was told to “shut up” as Stuurman was “not talking to you… I will deal with you later”.
Of a newspaper article first alerting the public to her behaviour, she wrote in a memo:
“The only thing [the] flawed article has managed to do is to divide us more as a country on [a] racial basis.” – Ray Hartle