Dept mulls response to Judge Motata pay report

The department of justice and constitutional development said it would comment later on Tuesday on a report that Judge Nkola Motata has been paid R4,6-million while on special leave related to his drunk-driving trial and subsequent conviction.

Spokesperson Tlali Tlali said the department would issue a response to a report in the Star newspaper on Tuesday.

Motata crashed his Jaguar through the wall of businessman Richard Baird’s home in Hurlingham, Johannesburg, in January 2007.

In 2009, the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court convicted him of drunk driving and sentenced him to a fine of R20 000 or 12 months’ imprisonment.

In November 2010, the court dismissed his application for leave to appeal.

The Star reported that in 2007 a judge earned an annual salary of R739 497. By 2010, this figure had increased to R1 385 013.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe reportedly said in reply to a parliamentary question that he was of the view that Motata should remain on special leave until the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) concluded an investigation against him.

Paid leave
“Subsequent to his conviction and sentence in 2010, a complaint was laid against him with the JSC to investigate whether, in light of his conviction and sentence, he is fit to hold judicial office,” said Radebe.

Motata also faces other complaints laid with the JSC.

AfriForum laid a complaint of racism related to remarks he made at the scene of his accident.

AfriForum said on Sunday that the Judicial Conduct Committee had found that racial remarks made by Motata constituted a prima-facie case of gross misconduct.

The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace and advocate Gert Pretorius have also laid complaints against him.

The recommendation that the complaints be heard by a judicial tribunal would be tabled with the JSC at its next sitting in October.

This could be followed by the selection of tribunal members and the establishment of a time frame in which to hear the case.

Tlali was quoted in the Star report as saying: “You cannot interfere with the remuneration of someone who is on leave — he’s on paid leave.”

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