Motata lied, says evidence leader in tribunal probing his conduct
Johannesburg – Retired Judge Nkola Motata has been accused of lying during cross-examination before a judicial tribunal probing his conduct.
Evidence leader Advocate Ivy Thenga, who was presenting her closing argument, said Motata had submitted two versions of how he was provoked into using "racist" language at the scene of a crash in January 2007.
Motata's judicial conduct tribunal is being held at the Office of the Chief Justice in Midrand.
The tribunal is probing whether statements allegedly made by Motata can be classified as racist and whether his defence during his drunk driving trial constituted gross misconduct.
Motata admitted that during the much-publicised accident in January 2007 he said: "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."
Motata, in his answering affidavits, said that he became upset when the man whose wall he crashed into took his car keys, Thenga said.
She added that on Wednesday while giving evidence, Motata made an additional statement that he was called k****r.
"Once more we did not get the truth."
Thenga argued that an aggravating factor in Motata's case was his drunkenness during the incident.
"His drunkenness should be considered as gross misconduct."
She added that she needed the tribunal's discretion to properly classify Motata's conduct.
Earlier, News24 reported that AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel, who laid the complaint, said the context of the words must be considered.
He said: "The words 'boer' and 'even if they have big bodies' [were] meant to depict, in an absolute sense, all white people, as being inherently racist, bullyish, of a specific physical appearance, [having] no regard for any other person, unsophisticated, unrepentant, the ever-oppressor, and unethical and immoral.
"Furthermore, with reference to the 'boers', Judge Motata stated that 'this is our world not the world of the boers', thereby cementing his views that white people are not part of South Africa, not to be recognised as equal citizens, and should, therefore, be disregarded as a whole," he said.
The second complainant, Advocate Gerrit Pretorius, said Motata's conduct during trial constituted gross misconduct.
Pretorius also argued that Motata relied on an untruthful defence which amounts to breach of judicial ethics.
Thenga added that Motata had confirmed that he later understood what was expected of him as a judge in the public domain.
Motata, who was on special leave until his retirement last year, is still entitled to be paid retirement for life with the full benefits associated with his position.
Motata could face impeachment should the tribunal find his conduct unconstitutional. This means that he could potentially lose his salary and benefits afforded to a judge in his position.
The decision to impeach, however, would have to be made by National Assembly where the motion must pass with a two-thirds majority.