Retired ConCourt judge Kriegler wants WC judge president Hlophe suspended

The Judicial Conduct Tribunal found Hlophe guilty of gross misconduct.

Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe. Picture: www.judiciary.org.za

CAPE TOWN - Retired Constitutional Court judge, Johann Kriegler, on Monday said that Westen Cape judge president John Hlophe should be suspended.

The Judicial Conduct Tribunal found Hlophe guilty of gross misconduct.

The tribunal made a ruling that he breached the Constitution by trying to influence two Constitutional Court justices to rule in the favour of former president Jacob Zuma in a case involving a French arms company.

READ: DA welcomes tribunal’s findings, calls Hlophe 'a blight on the judiciary'

Kriegler was responding to the Judicial Conduct Tribunal's damning ruling against Hlophe: “On the recommendation on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission, the president is certainly empowered to do so.”

Kriegler said that he had mixed feelings about the outcome of the more than a decade-long probe into Hlophe's conduct.

The tribunal's report will now be considered by the Judicial Service Commission.

At the same time judicial watchdog - Judges Matters - has expressed concern following findings by the Judicial Conduct Tribunal regarding Hlophe’s conduct.

Judges Matters’s Mbekezeli Benjamin has welcomed the finding.

“Judges Matters is relieved at the outcome of the Judicial Conduct Tribunal into Hlophe. We’re obviously concerned that such a senior member of the judiciary has been found guilty of misconduct.”

It’s still unclear if Hlope will take the ruling on review, with opposition parties calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to appoint a retired judge to look into allegations of improper conduct of judicial officers, including possible bribery.

Analysts, meanwhile, say the findings did not mean a guilty verdict and the matter could take years to be finalised.

The report will now be forwarded to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng for consideration before it’s been referred to Parliament.

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