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Johannesburg - A technical oversight could mean a judicial conduct probe into Cape Judge President John Hlophe has not been properly convened, a tribunal heard on Monday.
Selby Mbenenge, SC, for Constitutional Court Judges Chris Jafta and Bess Nkabinde, said the justice minister had to publish the rules for the tribunal proceedings in the Government Gazette, in terms of the Judicial Service Commission Act.
“If it turns out there are no rules, it will mean that there is no business for today,” he said in Kempton Park.
“We are of the view that it has always been incumbent on the minister of justice to publish particulars of procedures in the gazette.”
Mbenenge was arguing during a JSC tribunal hearing into a complaint of judicial misconduct against Hlophe.
Hlophe allegedly tried to influence the two judges to make a ruling in favour of President Jacob Zuma.
In 2008, Jafta and Nkabinde claimed Hlophe had tried to influence them to rule in favour of Zuma in a corruption case involving the multi-billion rand arms deal.
The judges regarded this as an improper attempt to influence the case and a complaint was lodged.
Hlophe, affronted that the judges had sent a copy of the complaint to the media before he had time to respond to it, laid a counter-complaint.
A lengthy stop-start parallel process of JSC hearings and court challenges ensued.
The matter was ultimately heard in the Supreme Court of Appeal with rulings in favour of Western Cape premier Helen Zille and lobby group Freedom Under Law.
Last October, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said he would formally appoint tribunal members.
Hlophe faces impeachment if found guilty.