DA welcomes tribunal's investigation into allegations against Judge John Hlophe
Cape Town – The DA has welcomed the establishment of a tribunal to investigate allegations of gross misconduct against Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe, said justice and correctional services spokesperson advocate Glynnis Breytenbach.
The DA also called for the suspension of Judge Hlophe "in light of his long and tainted history of alleged misconduct", saying a "proper investigation into these allegations can only happen in his temporary absence from office".
Earlier this year, Judge Hlophe's deputy, Judge Patricia Goliath, accused him of nepotism, intimidation and attacks against colleagues. She also accused him of trying to influence the appointment of judges to preside over the nuclear case against former president Jacob Zuma.
Judge Hlophe filed a scathing affidavit in response to Judge Goliath's claims, saying she was lying and that the deputy judge president wanted him removed from the Bench.
In another complaint, Judge Hlophe was accused of appointing his wife, Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe, to take over matters that were high-profile. Judge Hlophe denied the allegation, saying it was unfounded.
Breytenbach said: "This is a crucial and necessary step to ensure that the judiciary is not stained by any individual’s alleged abuse of power and that our courts remain custodians of the Constitution and the rule of law.
"We cannot afford to allow a situation where the independence of the courts is brought into question, and we trust that the establishment of the tribunal in the matter involving Judge Hlophe will restore the credibility and independence of the judiciary, and increase public confidence in the courts.
"The DA wants to make it clear that our views and assessment of Judge Hlophe’s conduct is guided by our respect for the rule of law and the independence of the Judiciary. These are among the most fundamental and central values enshrined in the Constitution.
"The DA has consistently held the view that where sufficient prima facie evidence exists to warrant an investigation into serious matters involving the courts, such allegations must be swiftly investigated in order to restore decorum in our courts.
"We further call for the suspension of Judge Hlophe in light of his long and tainted history of alleged misconduct and until such time that the tribunal has conducted its work and have made its recommendations. A proper investigation into these allegations can only happen in his temporary absence from office.
"The DA hopes that the tribunal will be given the space to carry out its duties. We can only build a prosperous nation when all arms of government are strengthened and do their work without fear or favour."IOL