May 29, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

What John Hlophe’s appeal means for parliamentary impeachment processes

Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe will appeal the verdict, which upholds the Judicial Service Commission’s (JSC) finding of gross misconduct.

Hlophe said the public has a claim the law interprets such a precise verdict.

But without a preliminary interdict, Parliament can now proceed with an impeachment vote. In addition, the question arises as to whether Hlophe will be suspended in the meantime. Constitutionally, the President can only suspend a judge “upon advice” from the JSC.

Hlophe’s statement on Friday came a day after a full Judicial Chamber of the Gauteng High Court denied his motion to overturn the JSC’s decision on grounds of gross misconduct. In August, the JSC referred Hlophe to Parliament for possible impeachment.

Hlophe had gone to the Supreme Court to challenge the JSC’s decision, which upheld the finding of a previous court conduct tribunal. In August, the JSC referred him to Parliament for possible impeachment.

The finding of gross misconduct related to a complaint by all judges at the time from the Constitutional Court in 2008 that Hlophe tried to unduly influence the outcome of pending cases related to corruption allegations against former President Jacob Zuma.

In the statement, Hlophe’s lawyer said Barnabas Xulu The Western Cape Chief Justice had read the judgment carefully and it “did not reflect established case law on the constitutional and legal principles raised by the parties”.

The case was “important for public confidence in the judiciary and the rule of law, and we have accordingly received instructions to appeal the matter.”

Hlophe’s court challenge was supported for a number of reasons. They added that the JSC session in question had not been properly constituted and that the JSC and the court had acted outside of their powers. All his reasons were rejected by the Supreme Court.

When Hlophe first went to court in September last year, he had asked for an injunction to prevent his impeachment and possible suspension . Pending review.

He withdrew his preliminary cease-and-desist order after the parties agreed to an expedited hearing to hear his main review and after an affidavit from former JSC Secretary Sello Chiloane stating, that the JSC has decided by a majority to postpone a meeting to consider the President’s suspension of Hlophe pending the litigation..

“This is not intended until this motion is resolved . However, this should not be construed as including appeals,” Chiloane said, adding that the JSC reserves its right to “take appropriate action” once a Supreme Court ruling has been rendered.

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