Judge Motata disciplinary hearing back on agenda of Judicial Conduct Tribunal

Judge Nkolo John Motata in his luxury Jaguar at the scene of the accident where he crashed through a wall. 06/01/2007. Picture Credit. Business Day
Judge Nkolo John Motata in his luxury Jaguar at the scene of the accident where he crashed through a wall. 06/01/2007. Picture Credit. Business Day

Disgraced Judge Nkola Motata‚ who was convicted in 2009 for drunken driving‚ has failed in his bid to have a tribunal created in 2013 to consider disciplining him disbanded.

Motata wanted the Constitutional Court to declare it unconstitutional for the Judicial Service Commission to convene a tribunal to examine his conduct after he ran his Jaguar into the wall of a Johannesburg home in 2007 while drunk. He made racist comments at the scene.

He had escalated the matter to the Constitutional Court after the Gauteng division of the High Court dismissed his application to have the JSC Act‚ which includes the provisions establishing tribunals‚ declared unconstitutional.

 The Constitutional Court dismissed his application to have direct access to the court on May 17.

JSC secretary Sello Chiloane explained that the judges of the Constitutional Court were conflicted on whether to hear his matter.

Judge Nkola Motata earned R14 million since drunk driving incident

“There was no quorum on judges who can hear the matter‚” said Chiloane.

Judiciary Service Commission spokesman CP Fourie told TimesLIVE there was nothing prohibiting the tribunal from setting a date for his hearing.

“At the moment‚ there are no impediments for the tribunal to proceed with the matter‚” said Fourie‚ adding that it was up to the tribunal secretariat to set up the meetings.

In the meantime‚ Motata has officially retired.

Chiloane explained that Motata’s retirement does not halt the proceedings because as a retired judge he continues to receive benefits from the State for the rest of his life.

Tribunal hearings against other judges‚ including Judge Mabel Jansen and Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe had been halted pending the outcomes of Motata’s Constitutional Court challenge.

Jansen was accused of racism last year. She came under fire last year for a string of Facebook comments made public by the recipient‚ filmmaker Gillian Schutte.

The comments included that 99% of the criminal cases she heard were “of black fathers/uncles/brothers raping

children as young as five years old“.

Jansen apologised for the comments‚ saying they were taken out of context.

“She has officially resigned from being a judge therefore the judicial tribunal will no longer handle her matter‚” said Chiloane.

Hlophe was accused of trying to improperly influence two Constitutional Court judges in 2008.

A judicial conduct tribunal was ready to deal with the Hlophe complaint in 2013 but the two judges Hlophe allegedly approached‚ Bess Nkabinde and Chris Jafta‚ raised preliminary challenges against its constitutionality.

Their appeals failed before a full bench of the Johannesburg High Court‚ in the Supreme Court of Appeal and in the Constitutional Court.

Hlophe’s matter would now also proceed before the tribunal.

Chiloane said dates for the tribunal were yet to be finalised.

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