/ 4 September 2009

Cope, DA welcome Kriegler’s challenge to Hlophe ruling

The Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Congress of the People (Cope) on Friday welcomed former judge Johann Kriegler’s legal challenge to the dismissal of the misconduct complaint against Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe.

”Judge Kriegler’s application for review is an excellent remedy and reproach,” DA justice spokesperson Dene Smuts said.

Cope’s communications chief, Phillip Dexter, said he agreed with Kriegler that by failing to institute a full investigation into the complaint by the Constitutional Court against Hlophe, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) had failed South Africans.

”The JSC has been effectively nobbled, ensuring that it takes political rather than legal decisions,” Dexter said.

Kriegler has signalled that the Freedom Under Law society, which he chairs, would soon lodge high court proceedings in an attempt to have the JSC’s decision set aside.

He has termed the majority decision by the JSC last week the ”biggest threat to rule of law the country has experienced since it emerged from darkness”.

Kriegler said the dispute between Hlophe and the Constitutional Court over whether he tried to influence pending court rulings in favour of Jacob Zuma last year before he became president could only be resolved through cross-examination.

He has made it clear that his aim was not to have Hlophe impeached, but to compel the JSC to do its duty. — Sapa