JSC rapped for taking over a decade to deal with judges

19 April 2018 - 12:00
By Timeslive
Gavel and handcuffs.
Image: Gallo Images/ IStock Gavel and handcuffs.

Freedom Under Law has rapped the Judicial Service Commission for taking so long to deal with matters involving judges accused of misconduct.

"While Freedom Under Law (FUL) welcomes the recommendation of the Judicial Tribunal that Judge Nkola Motata be impeached‚ it records serious concern that it should have taken 11 years from the events in question to reach this point‚" the group said.

"FUL observes that other pending matters before the JSC‚ in particular that involving Judge President (John) Hlophe‚ have also taken‚ and continue to take‚ many years‚ without final resolution and at significant cost to the taxpayer.

"Final resolution of these matters is in the public interest and safeguards the integrity of the judiciary‚" said FUL‚ asking the JSC to act now ensure expeditious resolution of these matters.

This week‚ the Judicial Conduct Tribunal‚ in its report dated April 12‚ made public yesterday‚ found that Motata’s conduct at the scene of a car accident in January 2007‚ when he drove into the wall of a house in Johannesburg‚ and the remarks he made at the time‚ were racist and were prejudicial to the impartiality and dignity of the courts.

The tribunal said it believed that Motata retaining his status as a judicial officer would negatively affect public confidence in the justice system. It has recommended that the Judicial Service Commission consider impeaching Motata‚ a move that would see him losing all the benefits he enjoys as a judicial officer.

The Hlophe matter‚ which dates back to 2008‚ emanated from a complaint lodged by Constitutional Court judges that Judge Hlophe had improperly sought to influence pending judgments in their court involving Jacob Zuma.