Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

Despite disruptions, interjections, and persistent points of order from members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Parliament, the impeachment of Judge Nkola Motata has been successfully carried out through a resolution.

The motion to remove Motata from office was eventually passed in Parliament, marking a significant development that occurred just hours after Judge John Hlophe was impeached by the House.

House chairperson Madala Ntombela faced challenges during the proceedings as EFF members raised points of order and even threatened that the impeachment could end up in court. ANC whip Bheki Hadebe cautioned that the EFF’s disruptions aimed to prevent MPs from voting on the motion to remove Motata.

Motata’s impeachment follows a Supreme Court of Appeal ruling last June, determining that the Judicial Service Commission should have found him guilty of gross misconduct, not just misconduct, for his actions after crashing his luxury car into a Johannesburg house boundary wall while under the influence.

In 2009, Motata was found guilty of drunk driving for the 2007 incident, leading to the matter being referred to Parliament for impeachment proceedings. The portfolio committee on justice and correctional services recommended Motata’s removal.

After the removal of EFF members from the House, the voting continued, resulting in 296 members voting for Motata’s removal, one against, and 13 abstentions. Ntombela stated that the report would be forwarded to President Cyril Ramaphosa for Motata’s removal.

Chairperson of the portfolio committee Bulelani Magwanishe highlighted that judges are bound by their oath of office, and their removal is not a cause for celebration but an opportunity for reflection as a nation. He emphasized that this process is about accountability, ensuring judges adhere to their oath, and instilling public trust in the judiciary.

Magwanishe noted that Motata’s behavior on the day of the incident did not align with the conduct expected of a judge, citing a trial court’s findings that Motata had hurled profanities at people after the car crash. He underscored the importance of holding judicial officers accountable for ethical conduct, as stipulated by the law.

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