Tribunal to investigate Hlophe

Complaint laid against the Western Cape Judge President, could see him impeached.

Judge President of the Western Cape High Court, Justice John Hlophe swearing in the new Minister of Transport Ben Martins at a ceremony held at Tuynhuis in Cape Town. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - The Judicial Conduct Committee on Wednesday said the complaint lodged by the Constitutional Court against Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe is serious enough, that he could be impeached.

It has now recommended that the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) institute a tribunal to investigate whether Hlophe tried to interfere with Constitutional Court cases relating to President Jacob Zuma.

The Constitutional Court accused Hlophe of trying to influence two of its judges to rule in favour of Zuma in a case involving the country's multi-billion rand arms deal in 2008.

The judges of the committee say they have considered written submissions by Hlophe, the Constitutional Court and Freedom Under Law.

They say if the Constitutional Court's prima facie case is proved, it would indicate misconduct which could result in Hlophe losing his job.

The committee also said it rejected another claim by Freedom Under Law against Hlophe, that Hlope made comments in legal papers, criticising Constitutional Court judges.