Judge John Hlophe approaches Johannesburg High Court in bid to have decision by JSC set aside

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Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe has approached the High Court in Johannesburg to try and review and set aside the decision of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC).  

The JSC has recommended his impeachment by parliament.  

In court papers, Hlophe is also seeking to interdict National Assembly Speaker and President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

The constitution gives the president powers to suspend a judge who is the subject of  impeachment by parliament.

Parliament’s Justice Committee is now processing the JSC’s recommendations. It was told by Parliament’s legal advisors last week that there was no need to develop rules for the removal of a judge as that would amount to a parallel enquiry. 

Hlophe was found guilty by the Judicial Conduct Tribunal earlier this year of trying to influence two Constitutional Court Justices Chris Jafta and Bess Nkabinde in a matter involving then president of the ANC Jacob Zuma. 

Discussion on Judge President John Hlophe guilty verdict: Paul Hoffman:

In April, the Judicial Conduct Tribunal, in a statement, said Hlophe’s conduct seriously threatened the independence, impartiality and dignity of the Constitutional Court.

In 2008, Justices Bess Nkabinde and Chris Jafta claimed that Hlophe had sought to influence their rulings in favour of the then ANC President, Jacob Zuma who was facing trial for corruption in the Thales matter.

The Judicial Conduct Tribunal now says that Hlophe’s conduct breached the provision of section 165 of the constitution in that he improperly attempted to influence the two Justices of the Constitutional Court to violate their oaths of office.

The tribunal said his conduct also threatened the public’s confidence in the judicial system.

The Judicial Service Commission is due to review the report’s findings.