Hlophe matter ‘must proceed without delay’

2013-10-03 10:46

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A hearing into a misconduct complaint against Cape Judge President John Hlophe must proceed without further delay, a tribunal has ruled.

“The main objection raised on behalf of Judge Bess Nkabinde and Judge Chris Jafta and Judge President Hlophe is dismissed,” said tribunal president Judge Joop Labuschagne.

“This matter should proceed without further delay.”

Labuschagne said the full reasons for the decision would be outlined in the tribunal report that would be given to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

The misconduct complaint against Hlophe was laid in 2008. He allegedly tried to influence Jafta and Nkabinde to make a ruling favouring President Jacob Zuma.

This was while the two Constitutional Court judges were considering a judgment in a corruption case relating to Zuma and arms company Thint involving the multi-billion rand arms deal.

The Hlophe hearing started on Monday this week after five years of legal wrangling around the matter.

Judges Jafta and Nkabinde argued before the tribunal that its legitimacy was at stake because the rules governing it were invalid.

Their lawyer, Selby Mbenenge, SC contended that the rules of the tribunal were also invalid because they were not published in the government gazette by the minister of justice, in terms of the unamended JSC Act.

“Our submission is, crudely speaking, that we must pack and go, all of us. There is nothing to postpone,” Mbenenge said on Tuesday.

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