Hlophe to face disciplinary tribunal in September

John Hlophe. (Gallo)

John Hlophe. (Gallo)

Hlophe's attorney Barnabas Xulu told the newspaper the hearing was set down for September 30 to October 11, in Johannesburg, reported the Cape Times on Tuesday.

In 2008, the judges of the Constitutional Court accused Hlophe of trying to influence the outcome of cases before their court.

These cases were linked to corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma, who was ANC president at the time.

The justices of the Constitutional Court had, in 2008, laid a complaint of judicial misconduct against Hlophe alleging that he had approached justices Chris Jafta and Bess Nkabinde with the intention of improperly influencing them in a matter before the court involving corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma – then ANC president and an ordinary citizen.

Hlophe in turn counter-complained to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) that the justices had infringed his constitutional right to dignity by publishing a media statement about their decision to lodge the complaint.

According to its terms of reference, the tribunal will investigate, make findings and report on whether Hlophe attempted to improperly influence Jafta and Nkabinde to decide matters that were pending before the Constitutional Court in favour of any of the litigants.

Insufficient evidence
If they do find this to be the case, the members of the tribunal will also have to decide whether he is guilty of gross misconduct, as contemplated in section 177 of the Constitution.

With impeachment of the judge president of a provincial division a possibility the matter has proved one of the most high profile for post-apartheid South Africa – and has divided the country's legal fraternity. 

In August 2009, a disciplinary committee of the JSC reportedly found insufficient evidence to justify gross misconduct.

According to the Cape Times, the court later ruled against the JSC, after the commission's decision was challenged by Freedom Under Law and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille.

Hlophe's application for leave to appeal the court's findings in the Constitutional Court was reportedly refused and the matter was sent back to the JSC. – Additional reporting by Sapa


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