In a Promotion of Access to Information case brought by Numsa, the metal workers union, against City Power, Judge Kathy Satchwell accused the utility of "covering up fraud and corruption" over its refusal to hand over documents related to the contract on solar geyser heaters.
Judge Satchwell was unimpressed with City Power's failure to respond to Numsa's requests for information since 2013.
Lawyers representing City Power argued that the judge was "biased" after she had ordered that legal costs must be paid by the utility's officials responsible for the litigation out of their own pockets and not the ratepayers.
The lawyers argued that Judge Satchwell had used "profanities" in her chambers against the utility's attorneys by calling them "idiots" and her remarks that someone had "f***ed up".
"The learned judge stated that the City... only uses young incompetent black attorneys, or little grey old white men sucking up to the black people in the city," read the application by City Power's lawyers.
"She stated that, (the use of) these attorneys was to cover up fraud and corruption. The learned judge stated that the city believes that it is a tail wagging the dog and that 'I should decide whether or not I am going to allow this'." The utility's lawyers said this was an indication of bias.
The utterances were apparently made in April in Judge Satchwell's chambers when she granted an order of costs to Numsa.
At the heart of the matter is Numsa's request for information on an R800m contract for the supply and installation of solar geysers in 2012.
Numsa had sought the court's intervention after its requests for information in August last year had been ignored. The union previously claimed the contract was awarded to companies that imported geysers from China, while the same were made in Ekurhuleni.
According to the recusal application by City Power, Judge Satchwell also stated that by not disclosing the documents sought by Numsa, "you are being tarred by the tar of President (Jacob) Zuma".
Yesterday, Judge Satchwell was unapologetic as she refused the application to recuse herself describing it as a "Soviet plot".
She told the defence lawyers she was only too happy to amend patent errors in her judgment. The City Power attorney, she remarked, had tried to set her up but "I don't care".
City Power had people "who don't know how to do their job".
"That sounds like incompetence so my bias remains," she added
Pretoria News Weekend