OPINION

‘Drunken' judge should be impeached for racist misconduct - AfriForum

Statement issued by Solidarity's civil rights initiative July 6 2008

AfriForum requests that Judge Motata should be removed as judge because of gross racist misconduct

The civil rights initiative AfriForum has officially requested the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to initiate a process in terms of Article 177 of the Constitution of South Africa to remove Judge Nkola John Motata from his position as judge because of gross racist misconduct.  AfriForum's request is related to Judge Motata's alleged racist remarks made after he crashed his car into the wall of a house in Johannesburg in January 2007, while allegedly under the influence of alcohol.

This request follows after an audio recording played as evidence in Motata's drunken-driving case in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court has brought to light that Motata made crass racist remarks regarding whites after the crash [see article].  Motata inter alia said with reference to Mr Richard Baird, owner of the house where the crash happened: "No Boer is going to undermine me ... this used to be the white man's land, even if they can have more land ... South Africa is ours, we are ruling South Africa."  Motata also allegedly said to members of the Johannesburg Metro Police who tried to calm him that they should not support the white man.

According to Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, the request of AfriForum involves that a comprehensive investigation should be launched by the JSC into the alleged racist remarks made by Judge Motata and that the JSC should make a recommendation to the President of South Africa in terms of Article 177(3) of the Constitution to suspend Judge Motata with immediate effect without salary, subject to the outcome of the investigation.  In Kriel's opinion, it is unacceptable for Motata to be on paid leave, still receiving a monthly salary of R57 000, in spite of the serious allegations of misconduct against him.

Kriel stated that a judge should be able to act in the interest of all communities without any prejudice.  Any judge who makes himself guilty of racist conduct, as Motata according to the audio recording seems to have done, in Kriel's opinion has no right to be a judge.  "A judge like Motata violates the public's confidence in the legal system and Afriforum will henceforth object if Motata acts as judge in any case in which AfriForum might be involved," Kriel said.

In terms of Article 177 of the Constitution, the President has to remove a judge permanently from his position if the JSC finds such a judge guilty of gross misconduct and the National Assembly thereafter accepts a resolution to remove that judge with a two-third majority.

Kriel expressed the hope that the JSC will approach the alleged racist remarks of Judge Motata with the gravity it deserves and that the case will not simply be swept under the carpet once again, as had been the case when Judge John Hlope allegedly had called a Cape attorney a "white sh*t".

Statement issued by Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, July 6 2008