LETTER: Fikile Mbalula skates on thin ice over judge president
Unbecoming language regarding John Hlophe in Prasa ruling undermines respect for the independence and integrity of the judge
It has been reported that transport minister Fikile Mbalula crossed swords with John Hlophe, judge president of the Western Cape High Court, after he ruled that the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) must reinstate contracts with security companies that it terminated, until it finalises a new tender or institutes alternative security measures.
When asked about the matter, Mbalula reportedly replied by rhetorically asking of Hlophe whether he knows “how to run trains? He must ask himself that particular question before he makes himself a Mickey Mouse and turns our courts into something that must not be respected.”
This is most unbecoming language and comment regarding the judge president, which undermines respect for the independence and integrity not only of the judge in question but for the judiciary as a whole.
The statement borders on contempt of court, particularly the use of the words “makes himself a Mickey Mouse”, which ridicules the judge in an unacceptable manner.
DA MP Chris Hunsinger quite rightly called on the minister to apologise to the judge president for his insulting and unseemly remarks.