Reuters International

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A white South African judge accused of making racist comments has been put on special leave while the incident is investigated, the justice ministry said on Wednesday.

High Court Judge Mabel Jansen is reported to have said that in black people's culture "a woman is there to pleasure them. Period," and that she had never met a black girl "who was not raped at about 12".

Social activist Gillian Schutte says Jansen made the comments to her during an online conversation. Jansen later said on Twitter: "What I stated confidentially to somebody in a position to help has been taken completely out of context."

Many South Africans demanded Jansen be sacked for the comments that once again drew attention to enduring racial tensions more than two decades after white minority rule.

"The complaint relates to comments on social media attributed to her which have caused outrage among members of the public," Justice Ministry spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said in a statement announcing Jansen had been put on leave and a temporary substitute judge had been appointed.

The body that oversees appointments to the judiciary said its conduct committee was investigating the incident, a procedure that could lead to her facing a tribunal and, ultimately, impeachment by parliament.

(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by James Macharia and Robin Pomeroy)

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