Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng Biography: Education, Career And NetWorth

Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng Biography

Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng Biography

Personal Information
Name: Ratha Mokgoatlheng
Other names: Jimmy Greaves
Born: Alexandra
Nationality: South African
Education: Law
Alma mater: University of Fort Hare
Children: 2
Occupation: Legal practitioner, magistrate
Capacity: Judge
First appointed as a judge 30 May 2007

Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng, a prominent figure in South Africa, is not only a respected High Court Judge but also a legendary soccer player. He played a crucial role as one of the founding members of the renowned Kaizer Chiefs. On 30 May 2007, he received his first appointment as a Judge, marking the beginning of his illustrious legal career.

Currently, Judge Ratha is presiding over the Senzo Meyiwa trial, taking over from Judge Tshifiwa Maumela. His extensive knowledge of South African law, combined with his wit and sharpness of tongue, make him a formidable presence in the courtroom.

Early Life

Born in Alexandra Township, Ratha Mokgoatlheng and his family were forcibly relocated to Diepkloof, Soweto. Growing up in an academic environment, with his uncle serving as a teacher and later becoming a principal and school inspector, Ratha was influenced to pursue a career in law. His admiration for Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo, both lawyers themselves, further solidified his decision. Additionally, his father played a significant role in encouraging him to become a man of the law.


Ratha attended Madibane High for three years before enrolling at the University of Fort Hare to study law. His educational journey laid the foundation for his future success as a legal professional.



In his early years, Ratha embarked on a football career, starting with Orlando Pirates at the age of 20. However, he faced expulsion from the team in 1969. During his time as a soccer player, he earned the nickname “Jimmy Greaves” and was known for playing while wearing spectacles.

Ratha, along with Thomas Zero Johnson and Edward Msomi Khoza, faced expulsion from the team after participating as guest players for a local club in Gaborone, Botswana, without proper notification to the management.

Despite his passion for football, Ratha’s father insisted that he prioritize his studies at Fort Hare over pursuing trials overseas. This decision led him to focus on his legal education while still being actively involved with Kaizer Chiefs. Even after becoming an admitted attorney in 1976, he remained a part of the club.

Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng’s journey from a soccer star to a respected High Court Judge showcases his remarkable achievements and dedication to both sports and the law. His contributions to the legal field and the soccer community have left an indelible mark on South African society.

Mokgoatlheng was renowned for his unique technique of throwing his upper body, which often deceived his opponents and sent them in the wrong direction. In 1968, he scored a remarkable goal for Pirates against Randfontein club Young Zebras, which Ace Ntsoelengoe referred to as a “never-see goal.”


As for his legal career, the Judge completed his articles at the prestigious law firm Bowman Gilfillan, following his qualifications. He was admitted as an attorney in 1976 and practiced law for thirty years before becoming an acting judge in 2002. In 2007, Mokgoatlheng was appointed as a full-time Judge until his retirement.

One notable case that the Judge presided over was the Jeppestown massacre trial, where four police officers and eight suspected robbers lost their lives in a five-hour gun battle. He sentenced the eleven accused individuals to life imprisonment.

Additionally, Ratha played a significant role in the legal proceedings involving Richard Mdluli, a former crime intelligence boss, who was convicted of kidnapping his customary wife. On the other hand, he granted bail to Angelo Agrizzi, the whistle-blower for Bosasa, in 2020. Furthermore, he made a significant ruling in the highly publicized court battles concerning Lerato Sengadi’s status as a customary wife.

Currently, the Judge is presiding over the Senzo Meyiwa trial, taking over from Judge Tshifiwa Maumela. President Cyril Ramaphosa had suspended Maumela due to his failure to conclude numerous pending court matters.