John Mandlakayise Hlophe, Judge President of the Western Cape Division of the High Court of South Africa, appears before the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) tribunal hearing at the Garden Court Hotel at OR Tambo International airport. Picture: Adrian de Kock
John Mandlakayise Hlophe, Judge President of the Western Cape Division of the High Court of South Africa, appears before the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) tribunal hearing at the Garden Court Hotel at OR Tambo International airport. Picture: Adrian de Kock

Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe to learn his fate in next 10 days

By Tarryn-Leigh Solomons Time of article published Nov 15, 2021

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Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe will know his fate in the matter against the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) within 10 days.

Gauteng deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba on Monday said the judgment in the matter should be finalised without further delay.

Judge President Ledwaba heard arguments between Judge Hlophe’s counsel, Lihle Sidaki, and Max du Plessis who represented Freedom Under Law (FUL).

The application heard in the hearings included an application to intervene by FUL and the Rule 30 application filed by Judge President John Hlophe which seeks to set aside the replying affidavit filed by FUL.

Hlophe hit back at the JSC tribunal and further claimed that its findings may have been influenced by retired Constitutional Court Justice Johann Kriegler, who is also the FUL’s chairperson.

Justice Kriegler never shied away from criticising the judge president for his conduct as a judge.

In Monday’s hearing, Sidaki said no proper case has been made out for FUL intervention as a respondent in this matter on any ground.

“We respectfully ask for the application to be dismissed. Judge President John Hlophe does not seek costs.”

Du Plessis said that Judge Hlophe wanted to “shut the door” on FUL being part of the main application.

“We have seen a version of this play or film before in three different ways. Judge Hlophe has tried to keep Freedom Under Law out of previous cases where FUL’s participation was critical. The case involves incautious claims against FUL and (Justice) Kriegler by (Judge) Hlophe.

“His claims against Freedom Under Law and Justice Kriegler are of a piece of his attacks against other accusers. We know that in this very case he [Judge Hlophe] attacks members of the JSC, including very senior members of the judiciary.

“Previously, when a complaint was first lodged, he attacked the justices of the Constitutional Court, including the chief justice and the deputy chief justice, and now he is continuing that trend in respect of accusing the accuser (Freedom Under Law),” argued Du Plessis.

Judge President Ledwaba concluded the hearing by saying that judgment in the matter can be concluded by saying: “Judgment will be delivered within the next 10 days – it may be earlier.”

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