Constitutional Court goes after Hlophe

Constitutional Court judges are to press on with a complaint against Cape Town Judge President John Hlophe.

On Tuesday, a 27-page document dealing with the allegation that Hlophe tried to influence two of the judges in cases involving African National Congress president Jacob Zuma, was handed to the Judicial Service Commission.

“What we received is a response from the chief justice on behalf of all the judges of the court,” said JSC spokesperson advocate Marumo Moerane.

“Judge Hlophe will be called on within 10 days to give his response. After that the Constitutional Court has five days to react to his response. We will meet on July 5 to deliberate on all these papers.”

The Constitutional Court judges met on Tuesday following developments related to their release on May 30 of a statement alleging interference on the part of Hlophe.

This related to the Constitutional Court’s forthcoming judgement on Zuma and arms company Thint’s attempts to challenge a Supreme Court of Appeal ruling on aspects of search-and-seizure raids relating to a pending corruption case.

Hlophe has, in turn, lodged a complaint with the JSC against the Constitutional Court on the grounds that its going public with the allegation violated his rights and did not follow a fair process.

Meanwhile, Constitutional Court judges Bess Nkabinde and acting judge Chris Jafta have written to the JSC saying they were not the “complainant judges” and would not make further statements.

On June 12 the JSC asked the judges in a letter if a complaint against Hlophe was to be pursued, and if there was evidence to support it.

Moerane said he believed Chief Justice Pius Langa had recused himself from the JSC chair for the matter.

“He has asked judge president [Craig] Howie to chair the commission,” said Moerane.

He said he did not know if the judges sent their complaint to the JSC before or after releasing the public statement.

He said that the communication they did receive, was the same as the statement sent to the press and its covering note referred to it as a complaint against Hlophe.
- Sapa

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