Judge Hlophe lives to fight another day as court grants him leave to appeal

Last year, the Judicial Conduct Tribunal concluded its lengthy inquiry into Hlophe's conduct in office following claims he tried to influence Constitutional Court Judges Chris Jafta and Bess Nkabinde.

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

JOHANNESBURG - The Johannesburg High Court has given embattled Western Cape Judge John Hlophe some reprieve after it granted him leave to appeal the findings of gross misconduct against him.

Last year, the Judicial Conduct Tribunal concluded its lengthy inquiry into Hlophe's conduct in office following claims that he tried to influence Constitutional Court Judges Chris Jafta and Bess Nkabinde.

The tribunal unanimously found Hlophe guilty of misconduct. But he looked to challenge the findings.

The court's decision to grant him leave to appeal on Wednesday means it's now up to the Supreme Court of Appeal to determine if it will uphold the damning findings.

Hlophe faced an onslaught of criticism last year, with calls for his impeachment from office.

Following the Judicial Conduct Tribunal's decision to hold Hlophe accountable for misconduct, the Judicial Service Commission upheld recommendations for him to face impeachment proceedings before Parliament.

At the centre of it all are accusations that Hlophe tried to influence the two justices in a corruption case relating to former president Jacob Zuma and arms company Thales in the multi-billion-rand arms deal.

Despite the serious accusations against him, Hlophe didn’t lay low, even appearing on the nominations list for the chief justice position earlier this year.

In the latest twist, the High Court admitted the argument made by Hlophe's legal team in the heads of argument were repetitive.

Notwithstanding this, the court found the case raised matters of public importance.