NELSON Mandela Bay court interpreters have reacted with disbelief to retired judge Justice Poswa labelling them drunkards and school dropouts.
South African Language Practitioners’ Association (Salpa) president Thami Konkie said the remarks were slanderous.
"They are an indictment on the entire justice system. There has been a major outcry not only from interpreters in the province, but across the country,” Konkie said.
Salpa would seek a meeting with Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe.
Judge Poswa lashed out at interpreters for misinterpretations in the courts which he said left thousands of innocent people languishing behind bars.
He was speaking at a meeting of Advocates for Transformation in Mthatha at the weekend.
An interpreter, who did not want to be named, said the problem of drunkenness was not limited to interpreters. Evidence of this in the courts was judicial officials who slurred their words on the bench, he said.
"Drinking is a societal problem and labelling people is not helping. Drinking, across the board, needs to be cured. No profession should be spared.”
The interpreter said they agreed with the judge on the need to pull up their socks.