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Cape Town - Developments in the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) tribunal on allegations against Western Cape Judge President John Hlope constitute a crisis, DA leader Helen Zille said on Wednesday.
In her weekly newsletter, Zille said the delay in the tribunal's proceedings had left the Bench divided.
On Tuesday, the tribunal postponed the hearing into misconduct allegations against Hlophe.
The postponement followed a request by the advocate representing Constitutional Court judges Chris Jafta and Bess Nkabinde Ä the two who alleged in 2008 that Hlope had sought to unduly influence them in a corruption case against President Jacob Zuma.
Jafta and Nkabinde have indicated they will approach the high court for a review of the decision to continue with the hearing.
They want to be excused from appearing and testifying pending the finalisation of the review, despite tribunal chairman, retired judge Joop Labuschagne's ruling that Hlope has a case to answer to.
Zille said Tuesday's postponement and the pending court case meant the tribunal hearings could drag on for a few more years.
“Until it is cleared up, none of the judges involved can regain credibility and public trust. This includes a judge president, and many of the judges of the Constitutional Court, as well as some retired judges,” she said.
The Hlope case would be the biggest test of the credibility of South Africa's courts.
“It is not possible for judges to adjudicate cases with authority and public respect if there is a possibility that they may have lied in a case that could result in the impeachment of a colleague,” Zille said.
“It is equally untenable that a judge president may have committed an impeachable offence, which his judicial colleagues agree to cover up.”