Judge Nkola Motata has finally been disciplined for his role in a drink-driving altercation. The judgement has come 12 years after he ploughed his car into the Johannesburg home of Richard Baird, and the pair were both accused of hurling racist abuse at each other.
Who is Nkola Motata?
However, Baird has painstakingly fought his case. He denies ever using any racist language – particularly “the K-word” – even though the judge’s tribunal found Motata had been “provoked” before heated words were exchanged. The citizen explained how his word was rarely believed against the magistrate’s, and that the incident cost him his job, his car and his wife.
On Thursday evening, Nkola Motata was finally reprimanded. He was ordered to pay R1.1 million to the South African Judicial Education Institute for his indiscretions over the next 24 moths. As well as the drink-driving charge, the judge was also slammed for his verbal attack:
“No boer is going to undermine me. This used to be a white man’s land, even if they have more land … South Africa belongs to us. We are ruling South Africa.”
Nkola Motata in 2007
The #JSC has fined convicted retired #JudgeNkolaMotata over R1.1 million payable in the next 24-months after he was found guilty of misconduct for drunk driving; his racist rant was found to be unbecoming of a judge for an incident in 2007. #SabcNews
— rhulani baloyi (@rhulani1baloyi) October 11, 2019
Drunk judge: What the tribunal found
However, Motata enjoyed some light relief on the matter. For a start, he was saved from impeachment. Despite his clear misconduct, his colleagues found him not guilty on the more serious charge of “gross misconduct” regarding the language used. The controversial law expert can continue in his field, despite being slapped with a huge fine.
The tribunal was chaired by KwaZulu-Natal judge president Achmat Jappie, who concluded the judgement in April last year. But in terms of the Constitution and the JSC Act, it is the JSC rather than the tribunal who must decide whether a judge’s conduct warrants impeachment. Unless the decision is taken to court on review, this should conclude all criminal proceedings against Nkola Motata.
Breaking: Retired Justice Nkola Motata will not be impeached, he will pay a fine of more than a million rand as he was only guilty of the lessor charge, misconduct, not gross misconduct as the majority felt he was provoked by the alleged use of the k-word <- This was never proved
— Amanda Watson (@_amandzing) October 10, 2019