John Hlophe case could end today – lawyer

2013-09-30 08:28

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The judicial conduct investigation into Cape Judge President John Hlophe could come to an end today, his lawyer told SAfm.

“It can be the end of the matter,” Barnabas Xulu said this morning, ahead of the start of a tribunal hearing into a complaint of judicial misconduct.

Hlophe allegedly tried to influence two Constitutional Court judges to make a ruling in favour of President Jacob Zuma. The case has been dragging on for five years.

Xulu said the tribunal would have to decide whether the case could go ahead because the complaint, dating from 2008, was not submitted under oath or in an affidavit.

He said the Judicial Services Act made it very clear that this was a legal requirement for the tribunal of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to hear a complaint.

“What will happen today ... is the judges of the Constitutional Court, Judges (Chris) Jafta and (Bess) Nkabinde will be calling for the statement (under oath) ...”

If this could not presented, the tribunal’s judge would have to decide if this was the end of the road, said Xulu.

The tribunal would begin at 10am at the Garden Court Hotel at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

According to the original complaint lodged in 2008, Jafta and Nkabinde alleged Hlophe approached them while they were considering their ruling relating to Zuma in his corruption case involving the multibillion-rand arms deal. The justices regarded this as an improper attempt to influence the case.

A lengthy stop-start parallel process of JSC hearings and court challenges ensued.

The matter was ultimately heard in the Supreme Court of Appeal with rulings in favour of Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and lobby group Freedom Under Law for the investigation into Hlophe to go ahead.

Last October Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said he would formally appoint tribunal members.

Hlophe faces impeachment if found guilty.

The hearings are open to the public.

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