Solidarity calls for an urgent investigation into Judge Motha

Network requesting a thorough inquiry by the JSC and the JP to address this injustice

Solidarity calls for an urgent investigation into Judge Motha

The Solidarity Law Network issued a reminder to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) with a request that Judge Mandlenkosi Percival Motha be investigated and removed from the bench. 

On Sunday 25 February Rapport reported about an email from Judge Motha sent to four advocates who had appeared before him in a case in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in January.

In this email Judge Motha requests submissions from the advocates in which they must explain why not one of the four of them opposing each other in a case about black economic empowerment scorecards, is black. 

Judge Motha then alludes to the fact that this may amount to a violation of the Constitution.

In its letter to the JSC, the Solidarity Law Network explains how these statements, specifically coming from a judge, may amount to judicial overreach of powers. This is a serious violation of the principles of fairness and impartiality our judicial system and constitutional democracy vest on.

Riaan Visser, head of the Solidarity Law Network, says the role of a judge is after all to let justice prevail and to apply the Constitution in an impartial manner, without any prejudice or preference. 

“It is clear that with this Judge Motha has exceeded the limits of judicial authority. This is a judge with a personal agenda (the skin colour of legal representatives of the litigating parties) which is totally irrelevant to the case serving before him. He clearly acted on the basis of his personal conviction. Moreover, he did so without any of the parties involved in the relevant case having objected about the issue themselves.

“This is unheard of and unacceptable,” Visser said.

He also pointed out that this is not the first time that Judge Motha’s judgment has been influenced by political or racial issues.

According to Visser, Judge Motha had already raised similar views during his interview for appointment as a full-time judge in the Pretoria High Court when he campaigned for the “Africanisation of the law”. This is something the Judge President of the North Gauteng High Court, Dunstan Mlambo, took due notice of at the time of the interviews.

Solidarity is requesting a thorough inquiry by the JSC and the Judge President to address this injustice and to see to it that something similar does not repeat itself in future,” Visser said.

“By removing Judge Motha from the bench, the independence of our judiciary and the rights of all citizens of our country will be protected from such bias. A strong message is necessary to convince the public that the integrity of the judicial system will indeed be preserved,” Visser said. 

Statement issued by Riaan Visser, Head: Solidarity Law Network, 29 February 2024