Judicial advocacy groups are concerned over yet another lengthy process in the Western Cape Judge President’s conduct case. Last August, he was found guilty of gross misconduct by the Judicial Services Commission.
Judge John Hlophe was granted leave to appeal a High Court judgment that paved the way for him to face an impeachment vote in Parliament. He can now appeal that ruling at the Supreme Court of Appeal.
14 years on and still no finality on the conduct of Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe. The Judicial Conduct Tribunal concluded its lengthy inquiry into his conduct -finding Hlophe guilty of attempting to influence the judicial process.
The Tribunal was headed by retired Judge Joop Labuschagne, Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Tati Makgoka, and attorney Nishani Pather.
After over a decade of back-and-forth testimony and challenges, they found Hlophe guilty of trying to influence Constitutional Court Justices Bess Nkabinde and Chris Jafta to rule in favour of former ANC president Jacob Zuma who was facing trial for corruption in the arms deal matter.
Hlophe has consistently maintained his innocence.
The Judicial Service Commission upheld recommendations for him to face impeachment proceedings before Parliament – however, Hlophe has challenged the finding.
In May a full bench of the Johannesburg High Court dismissed his application, however this week he was granted leave to appeal.
“The High Court identified three main reasons; firstly, the case involves the administration of justice and integrity of the judiciary. Second, the case involved norms by which judges may be held accountable. The third reason involved proper functioning of the JSC,” says Judge Matters’ Mbekezeli Benjamin.
Advocacy groups have raised some concerns.
“Although we are concerned by how long this case has gone on for, which is about 14 years, now we hope that the appeal will go by as quickly as possible and hopefully before the end of this year”, adds Benjamin
Hlophe will now head to the Supreme Court of Appeal in yet another bid to halt his impeachment process.
Judge John Hlophe maintains his innocence in the Tribunal Hearing in 9 Dec 2020: