Too early to speculate on Hlophe misconduct probe: Expert

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Constitutional Law Expert Pierre de Vos says the Judicial Conduct Tribunal must be given space to fully investigate allegations of gross misconduct against Cape Town High Court Judge President John Hlophe.

He’s reportedly been accused by his deputy Patricia Goliath of trying to influence the appointment of judges in the 2015 nuclear deal case.

In a 14-page affidavit sent to the Judicial Services Commission, Hlophe is also accused of trying to appoint judges sympathetic to former president Jacob Zuma in the trial.

It is also alleged that Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe, who is the judge president’s wife, received preferential treatment at the expense of more senior judges.

De Vos says it is too early to speculate on the outcome of the tribunal’s findings.

“We don’t know what really happened and if the allegations are true or not. That will be for the Judicial Conduct Tribunal to establish. It’s going to be investigating this, but the claims by Judge Hlophe’s lawyer that it would be unconstitutional to allocate judges according to their age, that claim is not what the law says. So that claim is not correct.”