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Hlophe tribunal to continue

A decision has been made that a tribunal will continue with its investigation into John Hlophe.

WC Judge President John Hlophe. Picture: Sapa

JOHANNESBURG - The judicial conduct tribunal has ruled that it can and will continue with its investigation into Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe.

The tribunal says it's taken a unanimous decision to dismiss the challenges to it by Judges Chris Jafta and Ness Nkabinde after they refused to lodge a complaint against him.

This means the complaint by the other Constitutional Court judges, that Hlophe tried to interfere with cases relating to President Jacob Zuma, will now proceed.

Justices Chris Jafta and Ness Nkabinde's lawyers had argued they should not be obliged to take part in proceedings as they have never made a formal complaint against Hlophe.

In his ruling today, Judge Joop Labuschagne said, "On the basis that there is no valid complaint before us, which can be investigated, is dismissed. The further preliminary objections raised on behalf of Hlophe are similarly dismissed."

PREVIOUS ARGUMENTS

The tribunal yesterday gave itself a day to breath after a rough beginning, as arguments were raised about its legitimacy.There were calls by Hlophe's lawyers and those representing Jafta and Nkabinde to scrap the tribunal.

Hlophe allegedly spoke to Jafta and Nkabinde in 2008 regarding Zuma's corruption case.

Hlope's lawyers in their arguments on Tuesday said some basic case rules were not followed and no sworn affidavits were even handed in against their client.

Lawyers acting for Jafta and Nkabinde in their arguments on Tuesday said the entire hearing had an illegitimate structure.

Jafta and Nkabinde are the only judges not part of the collective complaint against Hlophe.

Advocate Selby Mbenenge said the new rules governing how the tribunal works have never been published and have also not been properly followed.

Both Jafta and Nkabinde have made it clear they don't want to be part of the proceedings and Mbenenge says they are not obliged to either.

This tribunal will make history if Hlophe is found to have done anything wrong.