ConCourt dismisses appeal on SCA's Judge Hlophe misconduct ruling

2016-05-16 23:12
(File, News24)

(File, News24)

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Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court on Monday dismissed an application by Justices Bess Nkabinde and Chris Jafta for leave to appeal the Supreme Court of Appeal's ruling regarding the misconduct allegations against Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe.

"In the light of principle regulating the position where a court is incapacitated because of conflicts disabling its members from sitting to determine the merits of the application... the Court has decided that the application must be dismissed," it said in its order.

In 2008, all the then justices of the Constitutional Court complained to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) that Hlophe had met Jafta and Nkabinde and tried to influence four highly sensitive and political judgments pending before the court, Business Day reported.

The judgments were all linked to corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma. It was widely believed that the judgments were standing in the way of Zuma ascending to the presidency, Business Day reported.

The justices regarded discussing the case with Hlophe as an attempt to improperly influence its outcome and a complaint was lodged.

The JSC established a tribunal hearing into the matter in 2013. However, the two justices raised objections questioning the lawfulness of the tribunal.

During the hearing into the tribunal's legitimacy, Nkabinde and Jafta's counsel submitted that the tribunal had not been properly appointed, that its rules were invalid, and that there was no complaint to investigate.

They then filed an application with the High Court in Johannesburg challenging the tribunal's lawfulness. In 2014, the application was dismissed and the tribunal was told it could continue.

Jafta and Nkabinde approached the SCA, which put further delays on the tribunal. The SCA dismissed the case in March this year.

SCA Judge Mahomed Navsa dismissed the matter and told both parties to make a concerted effort to put the matter to rest.

In April, Nkabinde and Jafta approached the Constitutional Court, claiming the SCA had treated their case unfairly, Business Day reported.

Read more on:    jsc  |  john hlophe  |  judiciary
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