Judge Hlophe faces another Judicial Conduct Tribunal probe

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The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has accepted a recommendation by the Judicial Conduct Committee to refer a matter involving the Western Cape Judge President, John Hlophe, to a tribunal for investigation.

It says it will now approach the Chief Justice to appoint the tribunal to investigate complaints of assault and abusive language lodged by Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath.

Hlophe laid a counter complaint of racism, which allegedly involved the use of the k-word.

The commission found that there was no prima facie evidence substantiating the allegations of racism and the use of the k-word by Goliath.

The JSC says it has also decided to advise President Cyril Ramaphosa that Hlophe be suspended pending the finalisation of the tribunal process.

Possible impeachment

Judiciary monitoring body, Judges Matter, says Hlophe and retired Gauteng Judge Nkola Motata are the first to have tested the conduct system for judges.

Just last month, Parliament’s Justice and Correctional Services Portfolio Committee resolved to recommend that both judges be impeached.

A complaint was laid in 2008 against Hlophe by 11 Constitutional Court Justices, referring to his alleged attempts to influence two Constitutional Court Judges in a pending judgment.

Two-thirds of the National Assembly’s MPs will have to vote in support of the impeachment recommendation for it to take effect.

Motata on the other hand was found guilty of drunk driving in 2009 after crashing his car into a residential wall in Hurlingham, Sandton, north of Johannesburg in 2007.