Ratha Mokgoatlheng Biography: A Legacy of Law

Ratha Mokgoatlheng Biography

Born in Alexandra Township, Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng’s journey began amidst the vibrant culture and rich history of South Africa. Despite facing the challenges of forced relocation to Diepkloof, Soweto, Ratha was raised in a family deeply rooted in academics and activism. Inspired by iconic figures like Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo, as well as the influence of his father, Ratha’s path was set towards the pursuit of law.

Ratha Mokgoatlheng

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

Educated at Madibane High School, Ratha’s academic journey led him to the prestigious University of Fort Hare, where he embarked on his study of law. It was here that his passion for justice intersected with his love for soccer, setting the stage for a remarkable dual career.


Ratha Mokgoatlheng’s prowess on the soccer field was evident from a young age. Joining Orlando Pirates at just 20 years old, he quickly made a name for himself as a formidable player, earning the nickname “Jimmy Greaves” for his exceptional skills. However, his tenure with Orlando Pirates was short-lived, marked by controversy and expulsion.

Undeterred by setbacks, Ratha, along with Thomas “Zero” Johnson and Edward “Msomi” Khoza, embarked on a new venture that would leave an indelible mark on South African soccer history. Together, they founded Kaizer Chiefs, a legendary football club that would become synonymous with excellence and tradition.

Despite his aspirations for an international soccer career, Ratha’s father’s insistence on furthering his studies redirected his focus towards academia and law. Nevertheless, his contributions to Kaizer Chiefs and the sport as a whole remain an integral part of his legacy.

Legal Career

Following his admission as an attorney in 1976, Ratha Mokgoatlheng embarked on a distinguished legal career marked by integrity, diligence, and a commitment to justice. From his early days at Bowman Gilfillan law firm to his tenure as a full-time Judge, Ratha’s expertise and unwavering dedication earned him widespread respect and admiration within the legal community.

Throughout his career, Judge Ratha presided over high-profile cases that tested the boundaries of justice and morality. From the Jeppestown massacre trial to the sentencing of Richard Mdluli and the recognition of Lerato Sengadi’s customary rights, Ratha’s courtroom demeanor and keen understanding of the law left an indelible mark on the judicial landscape.

Personal Life

Beyond the courtroom and soccer field, Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng is a devoted family man, sharing his life with his wife and two children. His commitment to justice, coupled with his passion for soccer and advocacy, has cemented his legacy as a trailblazer in both the legal and sporting arenas.

As he presides over the Senzo Meyiwa trial, Judge Ratha continues to exemplify the principles of fairness, equity, and integrity that have defined his illustrious career. His impact on South African law and soccer is a testament to his enduring legacy and unwavering commitment to excellence.

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