After nearly 10 years of being suspended from the Bench, it is unclear whether Judge Nkola Motata is still getting paid or not.
Judge Motata, who remains a member of the Gauteng High Court, was placed on special leave in 2007 after crashing into the wall of a property in Joburg’s northern suburbs.
Last week, Judge Mabel Jansen became the second judge in the division to be placed on special leave with full pay following the request from Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo pending finalisation of a complaint to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), arising from racist comments she made in a Facebook message.
Spokeswoman for the office of the Chief Justice, Lusanda Ntuli, said on Sunday the JSC would be able to comment on whether Judge Motata was being paid or not.
But JSC spokesman advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza said he also didn’t know and referred questions to the Department of Justice. The department said it would only be able to deal with the issue on Monday. If he has been paid throughout, it is estimated he will have received almost R13 million over this period. Judge Motata was convicted of drunken driving in September 2009 and fined R20 000 after he crashed his Jaguar into the boundary wall of Hurlingham resident Richard Baird’s property in 2007.
The judge’s appeal was dismissed in 2010.
During the accident, Judge Motata allegedly said to Baird: “No boer is going to undermine me. This used to be the white man’s land, but it isn’t any more.”
He also allegedly told metro police officers at the incident not to support a white man.
Judge Motata was placed on special leave in 2007. If he is still drawing a salary, that means since 2007, he has been paid at least R12 995 061, according to calculations based on the Remuneration of Constitutional Court Judges and Judges Proclamations made by the president annually. The remuneration proclamations published in the government Gazette in March indicate that high court and labour court judges currently earn R1 765 934 a year.
Judges are paid a salary until they die and if Judge Motata is impeached, he risks losing this benefit. If they die before their spouse, the spouse receives money until their death.
In 2014, the Judicial Conduct Tribunal probing a complaint of racism against Judge Motata was postponed pending a challenge to legislation relating to the tribunal.
The JSC’s Sello Chiloane said: “The challenge is that all tribunals have been kept in abeyance. Once the Constitutional Court decision is made, we will be able to continue with tribunals.”[Source: The Star]