Parliament to go ahead with Judge Hlophe impeachment

Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu/Independent Newspapers

Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu/Independent Newspapers

Published Jan 30, 2024


Parliament said on Monday that it would push ahead with the impeachment of Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe unless it was interdicted by the courts.

This comes after Judge Hlophe revealed last Friday that he had brought an application to stop his pending impeachment by Parliament.

Spokesperson Moloto Mothapo confirmed that the national legislature was served with court papers.

“We plan to oppose (the court application). We will proceed (with the impeachment) unless interdicted,” Mothapo said.

In November, Parliament decided to vote on the removal of Judge Hlophe and Judge Nkola Motata before the end of this month.

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 two judges.

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

The gross misconduct charges against Judge 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 matter.

On Friday, Judge Hlophe said he had brought the application because Parliament wanted to proceed with his impeachment while there are still pending legal processes.

“There are so many cases that are going on and any decision to now impeach me will be premature because it will be final (and) we can no longer deal with that,” he said.

“There is no rush. I don’t understand why they are rushing,” Judge Hlophe said in an interview on the EFF Podcast.

“The papers were served a day before yesterday (last Wednesday). We hope sanity will prevail because this is a political thing,” he said.

Hlophe said he was being pursued because the Western Cape was a foreign land for black people.

“If you go there, you rock the boat. You advocate transformation, you pioneer transformation, you are going to be the enemy of the establishment.”

Commenting on his legal challenges, Judge Hlophe said one was the issue that has to do with the long-standing case relating to allegations that he improperly tried to influence the judges in the Constitutional Court in 2008.

“When this thing started in 2008, I went on voluntary suspension for 18 months. I was cleared by the Judicial Service Commission in September 2009.”

He said he had returned to work and nothing happened until the DA and Freedom Under Law took the matter to court and the saga started all over.

Judge Hlophe charged that his suspension in December 2022 was political.

“When I was suspended by President (Cyril) Ramaphosa, it was clear to me it was for political reasons,” he said.

He said Ramaphosa was a politician and also a head of state.

“Whenever he makes a decision, it is a political decision.”

Judge Hlophe charged that it was unheard of in the civilised world that a person could be suspended on separate occasions in respect of the same issue.

“It does not happen anywhere in the world. It is clear to me (Ramaphosa) did not act lawfully, but he acted politically.

“He was bowing to some political pressure.”

Cape Times