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His Lordship cannot just simply let it all go

By unknown | Oct 04, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

It is now 13 years since we excitedly snaked our way to voting booths; having arrived there in shiny sedans, on foot, even by donkey cart and in wheelbarrows.

It is now 13 years since we excitedly snaked our way to voting booths; having arrived there in shiny sedans, on foot, even by donkey cart and in wheelbarrows.

Like children on an excursion, we animatedly waited our turns despite the heat.

We were free from 50 years of apartheid subjugation.

At last we had arrived at Pretoria, as the freedom refrain would say. Nelson Mandela would be our first democratically elected president.

"Viva!" we shouted.

Briefly, that is how I sum up the way we all felt on April 27 1994.

Obviously, ours is a young democracy. What, therefore, can you expect from a 13 year old?

I am saying this because there are many ambitious people who expect this country to be at the same level with other developed democracies, say, such as Nigeria or the US and the others.

So, I agree with those who say we should be patient because we are a young country. And that is why I marvel at this country which I will not leave. We have the most intriguing actors in this tragicomedy.

Take Judge Nkola Motata's drunken driving story for instance.

It is now common cause that His Lordship drank tea, as he maintains, when he rammed his Jaguar into a wall.

Now he is pulling out all stops to prove it. Miraculously, even a crucial note that could be decisive in the case is missing.

Whatever the outcome, Motata will not survive the blows to his credibility, dignity and integrity.

Here is what I propose the judge should do. Apologise.

Many have done it before and still walk with their heads held high.

To show his attrition he could have publicly endorsed campaigns such as Arrive Alive and similar others.

Motata is a judge of the high court of South Africa, a custodian of habeas corpus, the rule of law. He is a very important cog in the administration of justice.

Not only is it demeaning for a person of his stature to be hauled before a magistrate who is by all means and purposes his junior.

But to face a charge of this nature is even more embarrassing.

I will use what I think is a perfect example in backing my proposal.

We all remember the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky debacle.

I am sure many will agree that the Clinton era was one of the most illustrious in world history.

The US did not invade Iraq nor threaten anyone who did not agree with the superpower. The world was a much safer place.

It was thus not surprising that Clinton's tryst with Lewinsky in the White House faded sooner than it surfaced.

At first, the president who was so loved by America that he served two terms, refused to apologise for his misdemeanour.

Eventually, facing impeachment and more embarrassment, he obliged. And he is still the people's president even today.

Likewise, an apology is the only way through which Judge Motata can redeem himself.

A simple "I made a mistake. I am sorry," will restore faith in him and in the justice system.

Those who know him will attest to how painstakingly Motata burned the midnight oil in dusty Diepkloof, Soweto, to become one of the first few black judges in the new dispensation. He can't just let it all go.


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