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The JSC has advised President Ramaphosa to suspend judge president John Hlophe after it found he was guilty of gross misconduct. Picture: Mohau Mofokeng
The JSC has advised President Ramaphosa to suspend judge president John Hlophe after it found he was guilty of gross misconduct. Picture: Mohau Mofokeng

Western Cape judge president John Hlophe is “contemplating” court action against the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), according to a lawyer’s letter asking the JSC for its reasons for advising President Cyril Ramaphosa to suspend him.

The letter, sent on Wednesday, followed the JSC’s decision on Monday night to advise the president to suspend Hlophe after its decision that he was guilty of gross misconduct and to refer him to parliament for possible impeachment.

The finding was in relation to a 2008 complaint from all the then justices of the Constitutional Court that Hlophe had tried to influence the outcome of a pending judgment connected to corruption charges involving former president Jacob Zuma. 

In the judge president’s letter to the JSC, Hlophe’s attorney Barnabas Xulu, also asked the JSC to explain why it had decided to suspend Hlophe without hearing oral “representations and argument” from Hlophe, as he had requested.

Xulu said Hlophe had asked in his written submissions to the JSC to allow his lawyers to make oral submissions to the JSC meeting “due to the complexity of the issues involved”.

“The JSC did not respond to that request, and, without explanation, failed to provide an opportunity for judge president Hlophe’s legal representatives to address the JSC meeting,” he said.

He said Hlophe was also entitled to know the composition of Monday’s meeting.

The composition of the meeting that decided that Hlophe was guilty of gross misconduct was one of the main grounds upon which he challenged the gross-misconduct finding in court. Though he lost in the high court, he was granted leave to appeal and that litigation is still ongoing.

In his letter, Xulu said Hlophe was now considering new litigation — a challenge to the advice to suspend.

“Judge president Hlophe is contemplating applying to court to have the process followed by the JSC and the resultant decision to advise the president to suspend him set aside on review,” reads the letter.

The letter asks that the reasons be provided by August 3.

TimesLIVE


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