The Democratic Alliance (DA) called for Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe to be suspended due to the allegations of gross misconduct against him.
Earlier this year, Patricia Goliath lodged a gross misconduct complaint against Hlophe. Goliath claimed that Hlophe had given his wife, Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe, preferential treatment, accusing them of compromising the proper functioning of the Western Cape High Court.
Hlophe was also accused of trying to influence Constitutional Court judges in a case involving former President Jacob Zuma, relating to the validity of searches during the arms deal investigation of Zuma and Thint.
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DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach welcomed the establishment of a tribunal to investigate allegations of gross misconduct against Hlope after the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) secretary Sello Chiloane confirmed that the date has been set from 26 to 30 October 2020.
“This is a crucial and necessary step to ensure that the judiciary is not stained by any individual’s alleged abuse of power and that our courts remain custodians of the Constitution and the rule of law.
“We cannot afford to allow a situation where the independence of the courts is brought into question, and we trust that the establishment of the tribunal in the matter involving Judge Hlophe will restore the credibility, and independence of the Judiciary, and increase public confidence in the courts.
“The DA wants to make it clear that our views and assessment of Judge Hlophe’s conduct is guided by our respect for the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. These are among the most fundamental and central values enshrined in the Constitution.”
Breytenbach, who is also DA shadow justice minister, said the DA was of the view that where sufficient “prima facie” evidence existed to warrant an investigation into serious matters involving the courts.
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She said such allegations must be investigated in order to restore “decorum” into courts.
“We further call for the suspension of Judge Hlophe in light of his long and tainted history of alleged misconduct and until such time that the tribunal has conducted its work and have made its recommendations. A proper investigation into these allegations can only happen in his temporary absence from office.
“The DA hopes that the tribunal will be given the space to carry out its duties, we can only build a prosperous nation when all arms of government are strengthened and do their work without fear or favour.”
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