Rights group attacks ‘scandalous’ Hlophe

2011-11-19 17:43

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng is being targeted again – this time by retired Constitutional Court judge Johann Kriegler.

As rights group Freedom Under Law (FUL) chairperson, he wrote to Mogoeng, the chairperson of the ­Judicial Service Commission (JSC), criticising his decision to allow Western Cape Judge President John ­Hlophe to attend hearings of the JSC.

Kriegler and FUL argued ­that Hlophe shouldn’t be allowed to attend JSC hearings until the commission finalised two gross misconduct charges against him, which might lead to his impeachment.

In 2008 Hlophe was accused by Constitutional Court judges of attempting to ­interfere in the case relating to corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma.

After months of deliberations, the JSC dropped the complaint, but the ­Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) instructed it last year to re-examine the complaint.

In a second complaint to the JSC against Hlophe, FUL said he accused Constitutional Court judges of political bias. According to Kriegler, these claims made by Hlophe were “scandalous” and unsubstantiated.

FUL recently complained to Mogoeng about Hlophe’s attendance last month of JSC hearings where potential judges were interviewed.

“A person charged with the most serious allegations of both criminal conduct and gross misconduct was screening candidates for their fitness for judicial office,” read the letter by FUL to Mogoeng, sent on October 24.

Mogoeng responded that Hlophe was standing in for North Gauteng Judge President Bernard Ngoepe but wouldn’t comment on Kriegler’s impropriety charges.

“I choose not to act unilaterally but to involve my JSC colleagues in deciding the matter. It may well be that the implication of your concern is that he shouldn’t even sit as judge president when candidates are interviewed for appointment to the division, of which he’s leader,” he wrote back.

He said the the matter would be decided at the next JSC meeting in April, and ended the letter by saying: “Our ­engagement on this matter will end here for now.”

Kriegler said: “I regret to say we simply cannot stand by while a judicial officer ­under such a serious cloud is not only ­allowed to perform the functions of the judge president but continues to serve as a member in good standing of the JSC.”

He suggested convening a special JSC meeting, persuading Hlophe to withdraw from the JSC, consulting judges president, or giving Hlophe an opportunity to address Mogoeng in private.

“Obviously it’s for you to decide on your course of action,” Kriegler wrote. The Constitutional Court will on ­November 29 hear representations on how to proceed with Hlophe’s request for leave to appeal to the SCA ruling.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.