Judge Davis irked by JSC questions about Hlophe

Cape Judge Dennis Davis did not take kindly to questions put to him on Monday about Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe at his interview for a post on the Constitutional Court.

He was asked about his relationship with Hlophe, whether Hlophe did not like white people, and what Cape judges thought of the Hlophe complaint relating to the judges of the Constitutional Court.

“I thought the point of coming here was to discuss my candidature,” said Davis, replying to a question from commissioner Cecil Burgess, adding that he would not divulge what was discussed in the common room because that was private.

He said the matter had had a devastating impact on the court because of media reports.

“It’s like some kind of long running soap opera—judges shouldn’t be in newspapers,” he said.

He said that he accepted the JSC’s decision on Hlophe and his job was to get on with his work, which included being Judge President of the Competition Appeal Court and teaching.

Pressed by Burgess on his relationship with Hlophe, he said the two had profound ideological differences, but not on the basis of race.

Before Davis was interviewed, North West Judge President Mogoeng wa Mogoeng said that Davis was among a number of judges who did not attend a conference because they had been on holiday.

Davis explained that he had been training to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for two years and had booked his ticket by the time he found out the date of the conference.

“And, trust me, that I had sweated blood to go up Kilimanjaro, so I went.”

He was upset that there were other judges absent because he believed a non-racial bench was crucial.

He was not paid for his television programme because he did it to educate people about the Constitution, which he was passionate about.

He called a question on his “high rate” of appeals of his judgements a “recycled” question and with the help of a researcher, found that of 140 reported judgements, he had 27 appeals, and of those 15 were confirmed, and 12 went against him. - Sapa

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