‘Removal of Hlophe and Motata the right thing to do’

Judge Nkola Motata and Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe. Picture: Archives

Judge Nkola Motata and Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe. Picture: Archives

Published Feb 19, 2024


Cape Town - With the National Assembly expected to consider the impeachment of suspended Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe on Wednesday, Parliament has filed a replying affidavit arguing that it was correct in proceeding with the matter.

This comes as Judge Hlophe lodged an urgent application last Tuesday for an interdict against a vote for his removal from judicial office, while he approached the Constitutional Court for a review of the matter.

Judge Hlophe argued, among others, that Parliament failed to adopt rules for the impeachment of a judicial officer, and its failure to do so resulted in a flawed constitutional process.

Parliament, however, said yesterday that it viewed Judge Hlophe’s application as tantamount to ignoring the separation of powers.

“Parliament believes that its decision to go ahead with considering the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services’ recommendations to remove Judge John Hlophe ... is correct, as established general rules and practices of the National Assembly sufficiently allow for such consideration in giving expression to its section 177(1)(b) constitutional mandate,” said Parliament.

The portfolio committee had in November resolved to recommend to the National Assembly that Judge Hlophe, along with Judge Nkola Motata, be removed from office.

The recommendations followed findings by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), which held that each judge had committed gross misconduct.

The JSC’s finding of gross misconduct against Judge Hlophe related to a complaint of attempted improper influence brought by the Justices of the Constitutional Court, relating to allegations that he tried to influence the outcome of former president Jacob Zuma’s corruption charges in 2008.

Judge Hlophe’s lawyer said the decision by the portfolio committee exposed blatant interference in judicial matters by Parliament.

The hearing on Wednesday will follow Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana’s Budget Speech.

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