A retired magistrate who was allegedly branded as a racist by a court manager for speaking Afrikaans, is claiming damages of R150 000 from the Minister of Justice, Rapport reports.

Paul Jacobus Dawid de Villiers, who worked at the Paulpietersburg Magistrate’s Court in KZN, says in court papers his dignity was impaired and he was defamed.

He also alleges that the court manager, Zinhle Ndlovu, said she wanted to see him ‘rot in jail for a long, long time’ for ‘stealing books’ belonging to the court.

Ndlovu denies making any of the offending utterances.

De Villiers, who also acted as judge at times, says in his claim that the theft allegation was made when he was moving belongings out of his office shortly after his retirement in 2011. De Villiers says two police officials were witnesses to that incident.

Ndlovu laid a criminal charge of theft on the same day, but the NPA issued a nolle prosequi certificate in January 2013. A trial date has been set in the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) for November.

Full report in Rapport (subscription needed)