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DA urges JSC to deal urgently with Hlophe tribunal findings

Judge President Hlope. Photo: Melinda Stuurman

Judge President Hlope. Photo: Melinda Stuurman

Published Apr 12, 2021

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Johannesburg - THE DA has urged the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to deal urgently with the findings formulated by the Judicial Conduct Tribunal regarding Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe.

The tribunal issued its report at the weekend following delays in dealing with the complaint laid against Judge Hlophe in 2008 by 11 Constitutional Court justices.

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The judges had laid the complaint following Judge Hlophe’s visits to Justices Chris Jafta and Bes Nkabinde in April and March 2008.

He had met the two to discuss a matter involving former president Jacob Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority. The apex court had reserved judgment on the case.

Judge Hlophe is said to have attempted to influence Justices Nkabinde and Jafta on how to rule on the case. He denied these accusations and said he was simply discussing legal matters.

The tribunal saw his denial differently and found Judge Hlophe guilty of gross misconduct in his decision to approach the judges.

The tribunal found that Judge Hlophe had breached the provisions of section 165 of the Constitution in attempting to influence justices of the court to violate their oaths of office.

“His conduct seriously threatened and interfered with the independence and impartiality, dignity and effectiveness of the Constitutional Court. His conduct threatened public confidence in the judicial system,“ the tribunal said.

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The matter now rests with the JSC to deliberate on the tribunal’s findings and to decide whether Judge Hlophe is guilty of gross misconduct, which could see him face impeachment proceedings in Parliament.

The JSC could rule either way on the matter. The DA says the commission should speed up the process to ensure that matter is finalised because of the serious findings against Judge Hlophe.

“The seriousness of the allegations and finding against (Judge) Hlophe cannot be stressed enough and the process cannot be delayed,” said DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach.

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“The DA believes that the tribunal has put in place the necessary basis for (Judge) Hlophe’s impeachment. The DA further believes that his removal will go a long way towards bolstering trust in our judiciary.

“This matter has dragged on for far too long and casts a long shadow on the process, and public confidence in the regulatory processes of the JSC,” she said.

Political Bureau

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