Judge Motata wants his job back

2011-11-24 22:26
Johannesburg - Convicted drunk driving Judge Nkola Motata has lodged a court application to get his job back and stop a gross misconduct probe against him.

In court papers dated Friday at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, Motata said a decision by the Judicial Service Commission to appoint a tribunal to do the probe had to be declared unconstitutional and unlawful.

On these grounds, Motata has asked the court to direct the justice minister and the JSC to allow him to resume his responsibilities as a judge.

The JSC decided in June to initiate an investigation into allegations of racial slurs by Motata at the scene of his 2007 car crash.

Motata was convicted of drunk driving after crashing his car into the perimeter wall of a house in Hurlingham, north of Johannesburg. The racial slurs were directed at home owner Richard Baird.

Motata was later placed on special leave.

In his founding affidavit Motata said: "It is submitted that the snail's pace at which this matter is being dealt with is not in the interest of all parties and is particularly prejudicial to my rights to a speedy finalisation of the administrative action against me."

He said the JSC was dragging its feet and that there was no legal basis for keeping him at home when there was a dire need for judges.

The rights group, AfriForum, which laid the complaint of racism, based its allegations on audio recordings from the night of the incident.

In the recordings Motata tells Richard Baird, shortly after the crash that: "This used to be the white man's land, but it isn't anymore".

Motata also allegedly asked members of the Johannesburg metro police who tried to calm him: "Why do you support the white man?"

In court papers, Motata said he planned to challenge this.

"I respectfully submit that nothing amounts to racial utterances in the words I used and their context."

AfriForum confirmed on Thursday that it had received the court documents and intended to appeal Motata's applications.

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