Gauteng High Court judge to hear Hlophe's bid to set aside misconduct findings

This despite a letter from Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe’s attorney saying that no judges in the division were 'impartial enough' to hear the matter.

FILE: Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe’s bid to have findings of gross misconduct against him set aside will be heard by a judge in the Gauteng High Court.

This despite a letter from Hlophe’s attorney saying that no judges in the division were “impartial enough” to hear the matter.

Hlophe was found guilty of gross misconduct in August, following a complaint laid in 2008 by all the Constitutional Court judges at the time, that he’d tried to influence the outcome of corruption cases pending against former president, Jacob Zuma.

On Wednesday, counsel for Hlophe agreed to abandon his urgent application to stop the National Assembly from starting impeachment proceedings and to stop the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) from considering whether or not to ask President Cyril Ramaphosa to suspend him.

It was agreed that there was no urgency as the National Assembly was only due to sit again in November and the JSC told the court that it would not consider the suspension issue until Hlophe’s application had been dealt with.

Deputy Judge President of the Gauteng High Court, Roland Sutherland, has ordered that the JSC and Hlophe’s legal team must decide on a timetable for the filing of papers in the main application.

This is where Hlophe seeks to have the JSC’s gross misconduct finding against him set aside. Sutherland said that if no agreement was reached, he would draw up a timetable and allocate a date and a judge to hear the matter.

But Sutherland has dismissed a plea to have the matter heard by a judge from a different division. Hlophe’s attorney Barnabas Xulu wrote that none of the Gauteng judges under Judge President Dunstan Mlambo would be “impartial enough”.

“Do you think that all the members of the Gauteng division constitute a swarm of minions who are enthralled to the judge president and who go about sucking up to him on each and everything that he has a whim about?” Sutherland asked.

Counsel for Hlophe, Lihle Sidaki, responded: “I can only say the contents of that letter are unfortunate.”

Hlophe will now continue to operate as judge president of the Western Cape High Court while a date for his matter to be heard is decided.

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.