Earlier this week the judges of the Western Cape High Court elected, through the office of the chief justice, to issue a remarkable statement on the controversy generated by the complaint brought by deputy president Patricia Goliath against judge president John Hlophe.

There were the usual platitudes about how they welcomed the Judicial Service Commission’s statement that it would seek to resolve the matter as expeditiously as possible. But then there was this: “It has been suggested in the press that the judges of this division have remained silent through cowardice or complicity. That is emphatically not so. Given the procedure for investigating complaints against judges, the proper place for judges with relevant knowledge to speak is before the JCC [judicial conduct committee] and any judicial conduct tribunal that may be established.”

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