Decision on Hlophe tribunal expected

A decision by the JSC, on whether to set up a tribunal to investigate John Hlophe, is expected.

Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe is seen at the Judicial Service Commission preliminary hearing into his alleged attempts to influence a judgment relating to President Jacob Zuma in Johannesburg, on 30 July 2009. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) says it expects to finally make a decision on Wednesday, on whether to set up a tribunal to investigate if Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe tried to influence Constitutional Court judges in 2008.

Six weeks ago, a separate committee of judges said that if found guilty of wrong-doing, Hlophe could be impeached as a judge.

Hlophe has been involved in a four-year long battle, amid claims he tried to improperly influence Constitutional Court cases relating to President Jacob Zuma's involvement in the country's multi-billion-rand arms deal.

The decision was originally expected to be made on Monday - but the JSC deferred it until today.

While the commission has been accused of dragging its feet on this matter in the past, it appears it will now have to set up a tribunal, after two rulings made last year by the Supreme Court of Appeals.

Those judgements said the JSC had been wrong to earlier decide not to investigate the complaints against Hlophe.

However, it appears this could still be a lengthy process, and the final outcome could still be some time away.