Now it’s Hlophe vs Goliath as Judge President plans counter complaint, defamation suit

2020-01-31 06:16
Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe. (Mary-Ann Palmer, Media24, City Press, file)

Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe. (Mary-Ann Palmer, Media24, City Press, file)

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Western Cape High Court Judge President John Hlophe and Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe are planning to sue Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath for defamation, their attorney has confirmed.

Barnabas Xulu told News24 he was still consulting with his clients but said they intended to sue as well as lodge a counter-complaint with the Judicial Service Commission.

The move comes after Judge Goliath lodged a 14-page gross misconduct complaint against the pair two weeks ago. Judge Hlophe and Judge Salie-Hlophe denied there was any merit to the complaint.

Dismissing it as containing gossip, rumours and information "obtained from the grapevine", Judge President Hlophe had said through Xulu he intended to show there is no merit to the complaint which, he said, brings the administration of justice "into serious disrepute" based on irrelevant material and "vague and embarrassing" information.

Judge Goliath in her affidavit accused Judge President Hlophe and Judge Salie-Hlophe of "gross misconduct" which she charges compromised the proper functioning of the highest court in the province.

Preferential treatment for his wife, assaulting and verbally abusing two judges and attempting to influence the appointment of judges perceived as "favourably disposed" to former president Jacob Zuma to preside over the so-called Earthlife Africa case involving the nuclear deal, were among the claims contained in the document.

She said a climate of fear and intimidation prevailed in the High Court, claiming that she was operating in an "unsafe, unhealthy and oppressive working environment".

According to Goliath's complaint, Salie-Hlophe wielded enormous power, including determining her own working days and hours, as well as having major clout in the appointment of acting judges.

Salie-Hlophe, in turn, accused Goliath of attempting to oust the judge president in order to succeed him, describing herself as "collateral damage".

She further accused Goliath of racism, ulterior motives and having an "unhealthy obsession" with her marriage.

Judge Goliath declined to comment.

Read more on:    john hlophe  |  patricia goliath  |  cape town  |  courts

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