Johannesburg – The Acting National Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata has welcomed the sentencing of a former magistrate Matobela Johannes Kgomo (58), by the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

Matobela who practised as a magistrate in Randburg was arrested by the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigating unit in December 2015 after he solicited funds from a complainant who was due to be extradited to Botswana to face fraud charges. He promised to assist the complainant to avoid being extradited provided he paid him a R1.2 million bribe.

The complainant managed to raise about R90 000 and paid Matobela as an initial payment, arrangements for subsequent payments were then made and the complainant engaged the Hawks culminating in the arrest of Matobela in 2015 after he had just received R150 000 from the complainant during an entrapment operation.

The Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court has slapped Matobela with a sentence of thirty (30) years in total. Fifteen (15) years for the 1st count of corruption related to the R90 000 payment and fifteen (15) years for the second payment. However the sentences are to run concurrently, meaning the former Magistrate is to serve effective sentence fifteen (15) years prison term. Leave to appeal has been dismissed on both convictions and sentence.

This is a ground-breaking sentence, it should serve as a deterrent and a warning to other judicial officers that they are not above the law, Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata said.

“The DPCI is committed to fighting fraud and corruption. We expect all government and private officials discharge their duties with utmost honesty. Magistrate Kgomo imprisonment we believe will set an important precedent for the South African justice system. Assuming that other people of the same stature are also brought to justice, this will help to reduce perceptions of impunity, thereby bolstering our position as the Hawks and other law enforcement agencies that crime does not pay. We believe the sentence will go a long way in reinforcing the integrity and the dignity of the judiciary,” she said.