News24

Hlophe 'shakes hands with whites'

2009-09-21 07:28

Johannesburg - The media and public returned to Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe’s interview for a post as judge on the Constitutional Court on Sunday after a session of private deliberations by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

The room was cleared when there were objections to him being questioned on his dealings with the company Oasis, and statements he made about Constitutional Court judges during the JSC hearing into complaints against him.

Some commissioners felt the JSC had already dealt with the Oasis matter and a retainer he had received from them in the past.

Damage control


When the public interview resumed, the Inkatha Freedom Party’s Koos van der Merwe asked him what he could do to “damage control to protect the judiciary”.

“With respect I think you should go into hiding,” said van der Merwe, saying the best thing would be for him to return to work in the Western Cape.

“Will you consider to withdraw so that the attention can get away from you and the judiciary can calm down.”

“With respect I will not withdraw, it is for the judiciary to decide,” replied Hlophe.

He also denied saying he would not shake the hands of the chief justice because he would not shake hands with a white man, as reported by the Mail & Guardian.

'I shake hands with white people'

“No I did not say that and I have shaken hands with the chief justice on many occasions.”

He listed some of the people he has shaken hands with, including incoming SA Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus.

“I shake hands with white people … it was not true, I never said that.”

He said he also did not know Percy Gumbi, of the Justice for Hlophe Alliance, which nominated him.

Apology


Hlophe also said he would consider apologising to the judges for things he said during the JSC hearing on the complaint and counter-complaint but said that he too was upset about the way he had been treated.

He was excused without answering the question put by ID leader Patricia de Lille for further details on Oasis dealings and the interviews were adjourned to Monday, when Supreme Court of Appeal judge Chris Jafta is expected to be interviewed.

Speaking on the sidelines of the interview, De Lille said she would consult the previous JSC record on the Oasis matter, as the commissioners said it had already been dealt with, but she was not a commissioner at that time.