Motata to face JSC tribunal
Johannesburg - The Judicial Services Commission has decided to appoint a tribunal to investigate a complaint against Judge Nkola Motata, convicted of drunk driving, for his alleged racist comments, Afrikaner lobby group AfriForum said on Wednesday.
"The commission considered the recommendations of the committee and your [Afriforum's] written and oral submissions made to the committee and found ... that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that Judge Motata is guilty of gross misconduct," said the JSC in a letter to AfriForum, which the organisation posted on its website.
JSC spokesperson Dumisa Ntsebeza confirmed that the JSC met to consider the recommendations on the matter from the Judicial Conduct Committee (JCC).
The JCC had found that racial remarks made by Motata constituted a prima-facie case of gross misconduct.
"The JSC decided that we should request the chief justice to constitute a Judicial Conduct Tribunal," he said.
Motata was convicted of drunk driving after crashing his car into the perimeter wall of a house in Hurlingham, north of Johannesburg, in 2007.
Will be sorry
AfriForum's complaint to the JSC was based on audio recordings from the night of the incident in which Motata told Richard Baird, the owner of the house, shortly after the crash that: "This used to be the white man's land, but it isn't anymore".
Motata allegedly told members of the Johannesburg metro police who tried to calm him: "Why do you support the white man?"
Motata allegedly threatened a member of the Johannesburg metro police who arrested him, saying: "You will be sorry."
The letter to AfriForum, from the secretariat of the JSC, read that in line with the provisions of the JSC Act, the commission would inform the president of its decision to appoint a tribunal.
Also, the commission is required, by the Act, to advise the president of the "desirability of suspending Judge Motata from office".
Ntsebeza said Motata would have to make submissions on why he should not be suspended and it requested AfriForum to make submissions on reasons, if any, that Motata should be suspended and whether there should be any conditions of such a suspension.
Motata has remained on leave since his conviction.
AfriForum chief executive Kallie Kriel on Wednesday welcomed the JSC's decision. He said the organisation would make a submission requesting that Motata be suspended, without pay, pending the outcome of the tribunal investigation.