Hlophe may have to repay R10.5m

2011-06-07 21:27

Cape Town - The government will only continue to pay Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe's legal fees if he agrees to repay the R10.5m he has received so far, should he lose his Constitutional Court appeals, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said on Tuesday.

"They must make an undertaking that should they lose the constitutional bid, the state must be repaid," Radebe told a media briefing ahead of the justice budget vote in Parliament.

"That's all, that's the regulation, that's what we have done with everybody."

The director general of justice, Nonkululeko Sindane, said legal costs in the Hlophe saga "is actually sitting at R7m", plus R3.5m in fees incurred during the Judicial Service Commission's investigation into the misconduct complaint against him.

She suggested Hlophe would have to pay the state back the full R10.5m should he lose his latest bid to have the charge dating from 2008 set aside.

In April, the Supreme Court of Appeal set aside the JSC's decision to clear Hlophe of gross misconduct, saying it was unlawful.

The conclusion, reached in two separate and unanimous judgments, reopens the dispute pitting Hlophe against the Constitutional Court judges.

They complained he had sought to influence a ruling relating to the corruption charges that plagued President Jacob Zuma before the 2009 elections that brought him to office.

Hlophe has filed for appeal against both judgments, creating a conundrum for the judiciary by taking the matter back to the court where the complaint originated.

His lawyer, Barnabas Xulu, said last week that Hlophe had applied to the justice department for further funding to defend himself against a complaint brought by Freedom under Law at the end of May.

The legal advocacy group lodged a gross misconduct complaint against Hlophe, claiming he had made statements "unbecoming of a judge" while defending himself against the 2008 complaint by the Constitutional Court judges.

It said Hlophe was not fit to serve the public as a judge because of his "scandalous public utterances" about the judges.

  • POLLENYS - 2011-06-07 22:34

    Best possible example of an incompetent judge. Just fire the bastard and get it over with. His demeanors are already legendary.

      Seja - 2012-03-30 14:29

      ....Like father like son ...

  • Gavin - 2011-06-07 23:09

    yet another national disgrace... tut, tut!

  • Janine - 2011-06-08 00:08

    Let's hope that someone makes sure that he does actually pay the money back.

      Barry - 2011-06-08 13:21

      @ Janine I agree. If He pays back the monies He has nothing to worry about. Zoomie and Sheikh are still there you now.

  • Henni Apple - 2011-06-08 00:22

    how in this world is it possible that a few in the country breaking the law and then the the same legal system pay millions for their defense? it is enough to make me sick while there are people in the same country that are unemployed and the same rules will not use if they steal a bread for the hunger.

  • - 2011-06-08 09:33

    If he fails and at best is without a job or worse, sitting in jail, how the hell does he pay back 10.5 million Rand? Ih he had it in the forst place he wouldn't be asking for financial assistance.

  • Heks - 2011-06-08 10:00

    I don't think this man will pay back a cent! Let us not kid ourselves.

  • bosegoos - 2011-06-08 10:01

    Even if Judge Hlope's appeal is unsuccessful and he is forced to repay the legal costs, the chances of recovering a substantial part of the costs are remote. He will probably make an offer of R200 per month and the State will accept that. It should be from the outset be put as a requirement that he repays at least an amount of R20 000 per month with interest (which is not unreasonable having regard to his income)and with the proviso that if he defaults on repayment, the whole outstanding amount will become due. Bearing in mind that he is a crony of the Prez, I am not very optimistic that this will happen.

  • - 2011-06-08 11:26

    Issues like this one need to be fully debated, preferably by senior leadership of our political parties. Failing that (which is likely) the people need to take up the challenge. In this vein our new site WWW.WECANDOBETTER.CO.ZA was born. We publish quality, pier reviewed, user driven opinion pieces that are aimed at sparking debate. In conjunction we have a user friendly and easy to use comment/ forum system. You can use or FACEBOOK and TWITTER log in details, allowing you to by pass any annoy registration system. We believe this user driven system will allow for some great debates. Regards Stanley Black

  • PB - 2011-06-08 12:17

    How about applying the principles of the Credit Act - if indications are that he will not realistically be able to repay moneys/services, the loan CAN NOT BE GRANTED, otherwise he can just sit back and say that it should have been obvious to the powers that be that he would not be able to repay the loan - thus using (abusing) the law to get his grubby fat paws on money coming out of the taxpayers' pockets.

  • biskit - 2011-06-08 16:14

    He aint fit for anything never mind a judge!

  • willieman - 2011-06-30 16:17

    I if he does not pay we jail min of justice

  • Archie - 2011-11-30 07:55

    typical .The judge will fight until the last rand he can squeese from our minister of justice?But there is a political reason why they are paying up,JZ dosnt want this issue reopened ,a lot of people will be caught in the crossfire.The SACP managed ANC is heading for the ash dump.Justice must be seen to be done,not deflected by some smartass legal move.Stop overloading our courts with this nonsense,build new schools and houses with the money thats what we need,then our economy will restart on its own

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