An ‘important purpose of section 34 [of the Constitution] is to guarantee the protection of the judicial process to persons who have disputes that can be resolved by law’ and that the right of access to court is ‘foundational to the stability of an orderly society. It ensures the peaceful, regulated and institutionalised mechanisms to resolve disputes, without resorting to self-help. The right of access to court is a bulwark against vigilantism, and the chaos and anarchy which it causes. Construed in this context of the rule of law and the principle against self-help in particular, access to court is indeed of cardinal importance’.The right guaranteed s34 would be rendered meaningless if court orders could be ignored with impunity:the underlying purposes of the right — and particularly that of avoidance of self-help — would be undermined if litigants could decide which orders they wished to obey and which they wished to ignore.
REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
JUDICIAL CONDUCT TRIBUNAL
21 February 2014
Judicial Conduct Tribunal to deal with preliminary issues raised by Judge Motata
On 06 January 2007, Judge Motata of the Gauteng Division of the High Court was involved in a motor vehicle accident on Gleneagles Road in Hurlingham, Johannesburg, in which he crashed into a wall belonging to Mr Baird. Arising from this incident, the JSC received two complaints lodged by AfriForum and Adv G C Pretorius SC. The essence of AfriForum‘s complaint is that Judge Motata, whilst at the scene of the said accident made some racist remarks against Mr Baird. Advocate Pretorius’ complaint relates to the manner in which the respondent pleaded to the charges he faced at his criminal trial in which he denied that he was driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and that he conducted his defence in a manner inconsistent with the ethics of judicial office.
On 22 February 2014, the Judicial Conduct Tribunal (Tribunal) mandated to investigate and report on the complaints lodged by AfriForum and Advocate G C Pretorious SC will sit to consider preliminary issues raised by Judge Motata.
One of the preliminary issues raised by Judge Motata is that the Tribunal should not proceed to hear the merits of the complaints while there is a constitutional challenge to section 24 of the Judicial Service Commission Act, 1994 which empowers the Tribunal President to appoint a member of the National Prosecuting Authority to collect evidence on behalf of the Tribunal, pending in the Gauteng Division of the High Court in the litigation initiated by Justices Nkabinde and Jafta.
The Tribunal proceedings will commence at 11h00 at the Southern Sun – OR Tambo International Airport located at the Airports Grounds, Jones Road.
Issued by the Judicial Conduct Tribunal
Contact: Mr Sello Chiloane, 079881 4455