Black lawyers want judges to step down

While the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) waits for the Constitutional Court to decide if it intends pursuing a complaint against Cape Town Judge President John Hlophe, the Black Lawyers’ Association (BLA) wants action against the judges of the country’s highest court, the Sunday Times reported.

On Saturday, the BLA called for the constitutional judges involved in the case against Hlophe to step down or face impeachment if it is found they acted maliciously.

This week Hlophe filed a complaint against the constitutional court judges for, among other things, failure to follow due process.

BLA president Andiswa Ndoni, said the JSC must urgently deal with Hlophe’s complaint against the judges.

”This whole saga has disgraced the profession.”

Ndoni said quick handling of the matter would help restore public confidence.

The constitutional court’s Judge Bess Nkabinde and Judge Chris Jafta told the JSC that they had no intention of filing complaints against Hlophe and that they had communicated this to Chief Justice Pius Langa and his deputy, Judge Dikgang Moseneke.

The drama started two weeks ago when the constitutional court announced that it had referred a complaint of improper influence against Hlophe to the JSC for investigation.

However, once the commission acted on it, the two judges announced they had no complaint.

On Friday, the constitutional court failed to submit a detailed complaint and asked for more time.

The JSC has since written to the court to ask if there is still a complaint and what the evidence is.

The judge’s complaint of impropriety against Hlophe centres on four cases — all related to applications by African National Congress president Jacob Zuma, his attorney Michael Hulley, and French arms companies Thint and Thint Holdings Southern Africa — for leave to appeal three 2007 Supreme Court of Appeal judgements.

The matters were heard by the court in March, but judgement was reserved.

Advocate Marumo Moerane, spokesperson for the JSC, said if statements from the judges were not forthcoming, it would not automatically end the investigation.

Moerane also said Hlophe’s complaint could either be investigated separately or could form party of the Hlophe investigation, should that continue. – Sapa

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