Top WC judge John Hlophe 'shocked' as reports link him to alleged plot to kill deputy

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Judge John Hlophe.
Judge John Hlophe.
Mary-Ann Palmer
  • Western Cape Judge President "shocked" by reports which implicate him in an alleged plot to assassinate his deputy.
  • Judge President John Hlophe - through his lawyers - called the allegations "baseless and false".
  • Hlophe and the Deputy Judge President, Patricia Goliath, both filed complaints to the JSC.

Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe is said to be shocked by media reports implicating him in an alleged ordered assassination attempt of Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath.

This following two media reports since Friday, which state that a Judicial Inspectorate of Correctional Services (JICS) report was sent to the ministry of justice, claiming an alleged plot on Goliath's life shouldn't be dismissed and warranted further investigation.

GroundUp reported on Friday that a report was handed to the minister of justice that a senior judge may have ordered the assassination of another judge.

According to the publication, who did not name the judges, the allegation was made by an awaiting-trial prisoner.

The Daily Maverick on Saturday named the judges as Hlophe and Goliath - who are currently the subjects of a bitter gross misconduct complaint laid against Hlophe before the Judicial Service Committee (JSC).

Shocked

"Our client was shocked by the publications by the various media houses, as the averments are baseless and false," a brief statement by Hlophe's lawyer, Barnabas Xulu, said on Sunday.

"We will attend to consultation with our client during the week of 7 September 2020 and will thereafter respond comprehensively to the allegations as contained in the publications," the statement concludes.

According to the JICS report cited by GroundUp, the allegation was that the senior judge allegedly contracted two men to assassinate his colleague through a third party.

A total of R3 million was "promised for the hit", but although it was nearly carried out, it was called off.

The would-be assassins still demanded money, and were allegedly paid R200 000.

Goliath confirmed to Daily Maverick that, on 3 June this year, she had been advised that a prisoner had called the office of the Grahamstown Bar and had informed them a "hit" had been placed on Goliath's life by another judge.

She, however, could not go into further details.

The justice ministry and the office of the chief justice did not immediately confirm receipt of the report.

READ | Goliath vs Hlophe: Chief Justice Mogoeng has no power to personally deal with allegations - office

In January, Goliath lodged a complaint against Hlophe, alleging that he had compromised the functioning of the Western Cape High Court.

News24 reported that she alleged there was preferential treatment for Hlophe's wife, that he assaulted and verbally abused two judges, as well as attempted to influence the appointments of judges seen as favourable to former president Jacob Zuma in the "Earthlife Africa" case.

Hlophe followed with a counter-complaint and dismissed the allegations.

Hlophe's wife, Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe, also accused Goliath of having an unhealthy obsession with her marriage and attempting to oust the judge president in order to succeed him.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng in July dismissed the counter-complaint against Goliath, and recommended that a tribunal be set up to investigate the serious claims against Hlophe.

Hlophe said he would appeal Mogoeng's decision.

- Compiled by Canny Maphanga

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