Opposition parties welcome JSC findings against WC Judge president Hlophe

The ruling against Hlophe came more than a decade after Constitutional Court justices, Chris Japhta and Bess Nkabinde, claimed that Hlophe approached them to influence a decision on a case involving former President Jacob Zuma and French arms company, Thales.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Opposition parties have welcomed the findings of the Judicial Conduct Tribunal investigating Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe, which has found him guilty of gross misconduct.

Constitutional Court justices, Chris Japhta and Bess Nkabinde, claimed that Hlophe approached them to influence a decision on a case involving former President Jacob Zuma and French arms company, Thales.

READ: Judicial Conduct Tribunal finds Judge Hlophe guilty of gross misconduct

The ruling against Hlophe came more than a decade after the claims were first made.

Opposition parties said that he must now face the consequences.

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

The Democratic Alliance (DA)'s Glynnis Breytenbach: "This matter needs to be discussed as a matter of urgency by the JSC and referred to Parliament for sanction."

Congress of the People (Cope) leader Mosioua Lekota agreed: "Cope welcomes the judgement. It shows that within our laws, there are sufficient checks and balances to protect the public against abuse."

However, legal expert Seda Jazbay said that the ruling did not amount to a guilty verdict and it could take years to impeach Hlophe.

"All of this can take a period of seven to maybe 10 years, it doesn't mean that he is guilty, it means the JSC has found him to be in breach."

Meanwhile, lobby group Freedom Under Law said that the latest developments around Hlophe were an important step forward.

The organisation's Nicole Fritz: "We've got this incredibly serious allegation that has been hanging over the judiciary and the public's confidence in the administration of justice for 13 years now and that has finally been determined and that is absolutely this incredible step forward."

She explained what happens next: "Judge president Hlophe and his representative will be invited to make representations ahead the JSC's consideration of that report, The JSC will then make a determination as to whether they uphold the finding of the report or not and it is not inevitable that they do so."

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