Vote on Judges Hlophe, Motata in January

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

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

Published Dec 1, 2023


Parliament on Thursday to vote on the removal of Judges John Hlophe and Nkola Motata, who were found guilty of gross misconduct, before the end of January next year.

The decision was taken by the National Assembly programme after the justice and correctional services portfolio committee adopted the report recommending the removal of the judges.

The portfolio committee had last week resolved to recommend that the judges be impeached after they were afforded an opportunity to make written representations.

The gross misconduct charges against Hlophe emanate from a complaint to the Judicial Services Commission by the Constitutional Court justices that he had improperly attempted to influence the apex court’s impending judgment in the Zuma-Thint matters.

The charge against Motata related to a court case when he instructed his lawyer to inform the court that he was not drunk at the scene of a motor accident.

In order for the two judges to be removed from office, the National Assembly is required to pass an impeachment vote with a two-thirds majority.

On Thursday, ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina noted appreciation that the portfolio committee had finalised the reports on the judges.

“Given the tight schedule of the National Assembly between now and the rise of the House I don’t see a possibility of tabling that report because it will need physical attendance.

“Notwithstanding, it is the festive season. With such short notice we may not get City Hall for a physical sitting of the National Assembly,” she said.

Majodina added that there were other parliamentary activities that were happening and some MPs may not be able to attend because of parliamentary commitments outside the country.

“I want to make a firm proposal that we consider convening a special sitting in January,” she said.

IFP chief whip Narend Singh expressed his disappointment.

“It is unfortunate. The Judge Motata matter has been outstanding for years. I think I agreed. We can't do it within two days or a week but we must find the earliest opportunity to deal with these matters,” Singh said.

DA chief whip Siviwe Gwarube echoed Singh’s disappointment before asking about the procedure that was to be followed after the portfolio committee had done its work.

“My suggestion is that the adoption of the reports must come to Parliament and then the National Assembly impeachment process and be scheduled in the next year,” she said.

House Chairperson Cedric Frolick said once adopted by the committee, the reports will be published in the Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports (ATC).

Hlophe’s lawyer Barnabas Xulu could not be reached for comment.

Cape Times