The Institute of Accountability in Southern Africa says the Judge President of the Western Cape High Court Division John Hlophe does not understand the nature of his suspension.
Hlophe has filed an urgent review application to stop President Cyril Ramaphosa from suspending him.
It comes after the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) resolved to advise Ramaphosa to suspend Hlophe pending the outcome of his possible impeachment by the National Assembly.
Hlophe was found guilty of gross misconduct for allegedly trying to influence two former Constitutional Court Justices, Bess Nkabinde and Chris Jafta in a matter involving Jacob Zuma when he was still ANC president in 2008.
The institute’s Paul Hoffman says, “He seems to have misconstrued the nature of the suspension itself. He is not being punished by being suspended. The suspension is of a precautionary nature and it is put in place in order to preserve the dignity and efficacy of the Judiciary itself.
That is something that the courts are unlikely to permit, in that the efficacy and dignity of the courts are not served by allowing Judge Hlophe to continue in office at a time when the Judicial Service Commission has, through its procedures, found him to be unfit for office.”
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In his review application, Hlophe argues that the JSC might not have been legally constituted when it decided to recommend his suspension.
Hlophe says the High Court has granted him leave to appeal in the Supreme Court of Appeal its ruling upholding the JSC’s finding of gross misconduct against him.
He has cited as respondents, the JSC, the president, the Speaker of the National Assembly, including six retired judges of the Constitutional Court and Freedom Under Law.