/ 7 September 2009

FUL pushes on with challenge to Hlophe decision

No member of the Freedom under Law (FUL) board of directors was opposed, in principle, to the pending legal challenge against the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) decision on Cape Judge President John Hlophe, the FUL said on Monday.

Spokesperson Niall Gahan said chairperson Judge Johann Kriegler met the legal team representing FUL in the matter on Monday.

While there remained no specified date on when the challenge would commence, Gahan said it would likely be within the next two weeks.

On Saturday, businessman Cyril Ramaphosa and Johannesburg High Court Acting Judge Kgomotso Moroka resigned from the FUL, saying they were not informed or consulted about the pending legal action.

Moroka is a member of the organisation’s board of directors and Ramaphosa is a member of the international advisory board.

JSC member advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, who also resigned from FUL over the weekend, reportedly said Kriegler had a condescending attitude towards black people.

Ntsebeza said his resignation was prompted by his respect of the rule of law, but added that he was not at all against any organisation challenging the JSC’s decisions.

The National Interfaith Leadership Council also entered the fray on Saturday, saying the ”the open attack on the integrity of the JSC by luminaries such as Judge Kriegler and Emeritus Archbishop Tutu can only serve to further erode the integrity of the judiciary”.

The decision to bring the application to the JSC was taken unanimously by six of the 10 directors of FUL.

Three board members, Moroka, Ntsebeza and former chairperson of the Cape Bar Jeremy Gauntlett SC did not participate because of potential conflicts of interest.

Gahan said the 10th member, Beatrice Mthetwa, could not be reached ahead of the announcement but she had since been communicated with.

Four of six of the South African members of FUL’s international advisory panel were consulted.

Gahan added on Monday that the resignations had no effect on the pending legal action. It would proceed as planned. — Sapa