Parliament wants JSC briefing on disciplinary proceedings against Motata, Hlope

Judge Nkola Motata.

Judge Nkola Motata.

Published Sep 20, 2023


Parliament will write to the Judicial Services Commission to ask to be briefed about the disciplinary proceedings of two judges who are set for impeachment proceedings.

This was decided by the justice and correctional services committee on Wednesday when it met to receive a briefing from the parliamentary legal services on the referral of a finding of gross misconduct against now retired judge Nkola Motata.

In August, National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula referred the matter to the committee after she received correspondence from Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on the finding of gross misconduct against Motata. Justice Zondo informed Mapisa-Nqakula that the Judicial Services Tribunal recommended his removal from office.

This was after the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled against Motata when the JSC made a finding of misconduct, instead of gross conduct.

On Tuesday, parliamentary legal advisor Barbara Loots said the JSC initially made a finding of misconduct against Motata, but the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that the tribunal’s recommendation of gross misconduct was correct.

Loots said the committee should not consider the merits of the disciplinary proceedings against Motata as that fell within the ambit of the JSC. She advised on the steps to be followed in handling the matter, including noting the JSC finding as a legal fact, calling the JSC to make a procedural presentation and inviting Motata to make written representation on any extenuating circumstances the committee should take into consideration when making its decision.

Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe.

After some discussion, the committee agreed to come up with time frames on the steps to be followed. Committee chairperson Bulelani Magwanishe noted that there was another referral related to Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe.

Judge Hlophe’s matter was put on hold after he took legal action against his suspension and parliamentary proceedings, as well as sought to review and set aside the decision of the JSC on the grounds that the judicial body was not properly constituted when it took the decision.

The committee agreed with Magwanishe that they invite the JSC to brief them on the two judges.

“We will write to the JSC for a briefing on judges Motata and Hlophe,” he said.

Cape Times