Zuma rebuffs Hlophe

2009-06-25 00:00

PRETORIA — Cape Town’s Judge President John Hlophe has encountered some resistance from a rather unexpected source in his battles with the judges of the Constitutional Court.

President Jacob Zuma and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe yesterday submitted a joint notice to the Constitutional Court in which they indicate they will oppose Hlophe’s request that they be added as parties in Hlophe’s request that the entire bench of the Constitutional Court step down from Hlope’s application for appeal.

Hlophe submitted his application to appeal after nine judges of the Supreme Court of Appeal unanimously decided that the Constitutional Court judges did not violate his rights to dignity and equality with their handling of the complaints they submitted against Hlophe to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

Hlophe initially said the judges of the Constitutional Court might consider his application for appeal, as long as they decide in his favour and grant his application.

Shortly thereafter, he seemed to have changed his mind and said that the judges of the Constitutional Court shouldn’t even see his application for appeal.

At the same time, he indicated that he wanted to add Zuma and Radebe as parties to his withdrawal application, because they will be responsible for appointing acting judges in the Constitutional Court, if the judges of this court do indeed withdraw.

But according to yesterday’s notice, neither Zuma nor Radebe is interested in becoming involved with Hlophe’s application. They will fight any formal application from Hlophe to add them as parties to the issue, they say.

Ironically, the charge against Hlophe at the JSC stems precisely from allegations that he tried to influence judges of the Constitutional Court to render a verdict in Zuma’s favour in one of Zuma’s cases against the National Prosecuting Authority.

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