Hlophe drops application to block impeachment proceedings, suspension

Counsel for Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe agreed to abandoning the urgent application when the matter came before Gauteng Deputy Judge President Roland Sutherland on Wednesday morning.

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

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe has abandoned his urgent application to interdict the National Assembly from instituting impeachment proceedings against him and to stop the Judicial Service Commission from considering whether or not to recommend that President Cyril Ramaphosa suspend him.

Counsel for Hlophe agreed to abandoning the urgent application when the matter came before Gauteng Deputy Judge President Roland Sutherland on Wednesday morning.

Hlophe was found guilty in August of gross misconduct after a 2008 complaint by all the judges of the Constitutional Court at the time that he had tried to influence the outcome of pending corruption cases against former President Jacob Zuma.

A fresh court date will now be set to hear the second part of Hlophe’s application – to have the JSC’s finding of gross misconduct against him set aside.

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The urgent application was abandoned because there is no urgency.

The National Assembly is only likely to consider impeachment proceedings against Hlophe after it resumes business in November.

The Judicial Service Commission has meanwhile told the court it would no longer meet on Wednesday to consider whether or not to ask Ramaphosa to suspend Hlophe – and that it would wait for his application to be heard.

Sutherland gave his order: “It is noted the applicant has abandoned the relief set out in Part A of this application and in the light of the disavowal of seeking a costs order by any of the respondents, all that is necessary is for me to note that the relief in Part A has been abandoned and withdrawn.”

Regarding Part B of the application, where Hlophe wants the JSC’s finding of gross misconduct against him set aside, Judge Sutherland said the parties should agree on a timetable and if they could not, he would draw one up himself.

“I shall fix the earliest convenient date and allocate a judge to hear the matter.”

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