Drunk judge ‘was racist’

JSC will now de­cide fate of re­tired judge Mo­tata

The Witness - - NEWS -

FOL­LOW­ING ­the­ ju­di­cial­ tri­bunal ­rul­ingthat­ the­ con­duct­ of­ re­tired­ judgeNkola ­Mo­tata­at­the­ scene­ of­ a­ car­crashin ­2007 ­was ­racist­and­lacked ­in­tegrity,the ­Ju­di­cial­Ser­vices­ Com­mis­sion ­( J SC )will­ now­ meet­ to­ con­sider­ the­ re­port­ an­dits­ rec­om­men­da­tions .

The­ tri­bunal’ s­ re­port ,­ dated­ April ­12,found­ that­ the­re marks­ judge­ Mo­tata­made­ af­ter­ he­ drunk­enly­ crashed­ his­ car­into­ a­ wall­ at­ a­ house­ in­ Jo­han­nes­burg in ­200 7­were­ racist­and ­thu s­im­pinge don ­and­ were ­prej­u­di­cial ­to ­the­im­par­tial­ity­and­dig­nity­of­the­courts.

“Sim­i­larly­the­lack­of­in­tegrity­in­the­man­ner­in­which­judge­Mo­tata­al­lowed­his­de­fence­to­be­con­ducted­at­his­trial,in­our­view­is­in­com­pat­i­ble­with­or­un­be­com­ing­of­the­hold­ing­of­ju­di­cial­of­fice,”the­re­port­read.

The­ tri­bunal­ rec­om­mended­ to­ theJSC­that­Mo­tata­be­re­moved­from­of­fice,in­line­with­sec­tion­177­(1)(a)­of­the­Con­sti­tu­tion,­which­deals­with­the­con­duct­ of­judges.

The­ com­mis­sion­re­ferred­ the­ case­ tothe­ tri­bunal­ af­ter­ the­ ju­di­cial­con­duct­com­mit­tee­in­di­cated­ it­ would­ in­ves­ti­gate­com­plaints­ of­ gross­ mis­con­duct­ filed­ against­ the­ judge.­JS C­ s pokes p er son­CP­Fourie­ said­ the­ com­mis­sion­ would­ now­ meet­ on­ a­ date­ and­ time­ deter­mined­ by­ the­ chief­ jus­tice­ to­ con­sider­ the­ re­port­ and­ then­ de­cide­whether­ it­ will­ fol­low­ the­ rec­om­men­da­tion­ of­ the­ tri­bunal­ or­ not.

Ac­cord­ing­to­the­re­port,­Mo­tata­was­driv­ing­ his­ car­ on­ Gle­nea­gles­ Road,Hurling­ham,­ in­ Jo­han­nes­burg,­ around­mid­night­on­Jan­uary­17,­2007,­when­het­ried­to­ex­e­cute­a­U-turn­and­ended­up­re­vers­ing­his­ve­hi­cle­through­the­wall­ofa­prop­erty.

The­prop­erty­owner­tes­ti­fied­dur­ingMo­tata’s­ trial­ in­ the­ North­ Gaut­engHigh­Court­that­the­judge­ut­tered­racial­ slurs,­pro­fan­i­ties­and­used­lan­guage­ofa­deroga­tory­na­ture.­The­judge­pre­vi­ouslyad­mit­ted­ to­ mak­ing­ re­marks­ to­ the­owner­of­the­house­in­clud­ing:­“No­boeris­go­ing­to­un­der­mine­me­...­this­usedto­be­a­white­man’s­land,­even­if­they­have­more­land­...­South­Africa­be­longsto­us.­We­are­rul­ing­South­Africa”.

The­re­port­states­that­the­trial­court­found­that­the­judge­also­ut­tered­the­fol­low­ing­words­at­the­scene:

Mo­tata:­“Yes,­but­you­know­all­of­you,let­ me­ tell­ you­ most­ of­ us­ this­ is­ our­world,­it­is­not­the­world­of­the­bo­ers.Even­if­they­can­have­big­bodies,­SouthAfrica­is­ours.”

Wit­ness­1:­“But­sir,­the­prob­lems­isyou­drove­into­his­wall.”

Mo­tata:­“Even­if­I­can­drive­into­it­Iwill­pay­it.­It­is­not­a­prob­lem­that­I­can­pay­for­the­wall­but­he­must­not­crit­i­ciseme.­There­is­no­boer­who­will­crit­i­cise­ me,­(in­dis­tinct)­what­he­thinks.”

Wit­ness­1:­“But­Mr­you­of­the­law­per­son.”

Mo­tata:­“Yes,­I­am­the­man­of­the­law,I­am­say­ing­if­I­knocked­his­wall­...­(In­ter­venes).

Wit­ness­1:­“Do­you­know­the­law­of...­(In­ter­venes).

Mo­tata:­“Yes­I­know­the­law.­Let­mego­to­the­law.­I­do­not­care­about­him.Yes­he­must­not­look­at­me­as­a­black­man.­Let­me­go­be­fore­the­law.­That­ishow­much­I­owe­him­for­the­wall­whichI­broke­down.”

Wit­ness­ 1:­ “But­ then­ it­ is­ not­ goodto­in­sult­him.”

Mo­tata:­“F**k­him,­f**k­him,­he­must­not­in­sult­me,­I­say­f**k­him.­Any­body­who­in­sults­me,­I­say­f**k­you.”

The­tri­bunal­also­looked­into­a­com­plaint­on­how­Mo­tata­ad­vanced­his­de­fence­dur­ing­the­crim­i­nal­trial.

Dur­ing­his­trial,­Mo­tata’s­le­gal­team­con­tended­that­the­judge­would­tes­ti­fythat­he­was­not­un­der­the­in­flu­ence­ofal­co­hol­while­driv­ing­his­car­and­that­the­p­rop­erty­owner­was­the­one­who­was­racist­to­wards­him.­Mo­tata­claimed­thathe­did­not­con­sider­him­self­to­be­drunkat­ the­ time­ of­ the­ ac­ci­dent­ as­ he­ on­ly­had­two­glasses­of­wine­that­evening.

Ac­cord­ing­ to­ Mo­tata,­ he­ was­ pro­voked­and­an­gered­by­the­prop­erty­own­er­who­ is­ al­leged­ to­ have­ called­ him­ adrunken­k **** r.­The­prop­erty­owner­isalso­ al­leged­ to­ have­ taken­ his­ car­ keysfrom­him.

The­tri­bunal­noted­that­Mo­tata­made­these­ al­le­ga­tions,­ yet­ he­ also­ in­sist­edthat­ the­ com­ments­ he­ made­ were­ not­made­to­the­home­owner­and­that­he­wass­peak­ing­to­the­po­lice­of­fi­cers­on­scenein­ Tswana.­ The­ tri­bunal­ re­port­ fur­ther­states­that­the­way­in­which­Mo­tata­led­his­de­fence­dur­ing­the­crim­i­nal­trial­was­in­con­sis­tent­with­the­ethics­of­a­ju­di­cialof­fi­cer­ and­ there­fore­ tan­ta­mount­ togross­mis­con­duct.

Mo­tata­was­found­guilty­in­2009­bythe­high­court­in­Pre­to­ria­of­drunk­driv­ing­and­fined­R20­000.­

PHOTO:­ JERRY­ MOKGWANKGWA­ (FILE)

Judge Nkola Mo­tata out­side court dur­ing his trial in 2009.

PHOTO:­ SUP­PLIED

A pho­to­graph taken af­ter Judge Nkola Mo­tata crashed his car into a prop­erty wall in 2007.

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