Western Cape High Court Judge President John Hlophe. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Cape Town - The tribunal investigating the conduct of Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe has been postponed indefinitely following the removal of a judge chairing the inquiry. Free State High Court Judge Cagney Musi recused himself from the panel at the start of the tribunal on Monday morning.

Musi’s recusal follows a request made by Hlophe that the judge should not be part of the panel because of a comment he made about Hlophe on another judicial matter. Hlophe’s council believes he would be biased if he is allowed to continue presiding over the tribunal.

Before Musi recused himself, he denied that the comments he had previously made were based on any legitimate evidence and were just based on “hearsay”. Hlophe’s council took issue with these comments and lambasted him for continuing to make controversial comments about its clients and that this was one of the reasons why he had to recuse himself. 

The start of the tribunal has been postponed and a future date will be set for the matter to be heard. The tribunal, by the Judicial Conduct Tribunal, will investigate claims by two judges that Hlophe tried to influence their decision on a pending court case involving former president Jacob Zuma.

Justices Bes Nkabinde and Chris Jafta, who were at the tribunal on Monday, laid the complaints against Hlophe in 2008. The tribunal has been delayed for years due to numerous court challenges about the constitutionality of the proceedings. Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng will have to appoint a judge to replace Musi.