Hlophe has a right to a seat on the JSC

Nothing prevents Dr John Hlophe from occupying the seat in the JSC.

Nothing prevents Dr John Hlophe from occupying the seat in the JSC.

Published Jul 11, 2024


The objecting to the nomination of former Western Cape High Court Judge President John Hlophe to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) overlook the fact that his contribution to the country’s jurisprudence remains intact.

It cannot be erased by his impeachment, which he maintains was driven by political agendas, nor can it be meaningless because his views about the need to transform South Africa’s legal system may be seen as controversial and at odds with some of NGOs.

The debate also misses the fact that Hlophe represents the uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) that was duly voted to have a presence in Parliament.

As an MP of the MKP, nothing prevents Hlophe from occupying the seat in the JSC. It’s undisputed that Hlophe remains one of the best legal minds the country has.

It’s also true that his impeachment does not take away the wealth of knowledge he as a legal scholar and judge has accumulated over the years.

It’s rather puzzling that there would be concerns and doubts over the suitability and capability of a person of Hlophe’s calibre who holds a PhD at the University of Cambridge, England, a B Juris degree from the University of Fort Hare, an LLB degree from the University of Natal as well as LLM and LLD degrees from the University of Cambridge.

His participation in the JSC should in fact be seen as a welcome change, for Parliament has been represented by MPs with no experience, let alone being qualified in the field of law.

Not that qualifications mattered in this regard.

In his tribute to Hlophe, Black Lawyers Association president Nkosana Francois Mvundlela notes: “As a judge, Hlophe has proven himself to be a distinguished scholar and has written groundbreaking judgments.

Dr Hlophe has also made commendable contributions to the transformation of the judiciary. Dr Hlophe’s contribution is and will remain etched in our minds forever. We believe that his scholarly influence would surely have rubbed off onto many other young judges appointed during his tenure.”

Parliament has rightly ignored the noise preceding his appointment.

His participation in the JSC should be measured by his contribution to the process. Anything else must be regarded as a sideshow.

Cape Times