EDITORIAL | Hlophe’s day of reckoning is long overdue
He has been an embarrassment to his esteemed colleagues in the judiciary and to SA
It has taken 12 years for the country to get a decision on whether Cape judge president John Hlophe improperly tried to influence Constitutional Court judges in favour of former President Jacob Zuma. But it seems we are just in time for a new season of litigation and counter-litigation.
Hlophe had told justice Chris Jafta that the case involving Zuma and arms manufacturer Thint must be decided “properly” and that “you are our last hope”. Indeed, each case must be decided properly. But who are the other people on whose behalf Hlophe expressed this last hope? Zuma’s other supporters? Hlophe further told justice Bess Nkabinde there was “no case” against Zuma ostensibly because Nkabinde could not be trusted to make that determination without Hlophe’s input. And it has become obvious why Hlophe was so moved to do a door-to-door campaign, leaning on judges to, like him, abandon their oaths of office, become political actors and vigorously pursue factional politics.
The Judicial Conduct Tribunal (JCT) announced recently (April 10) that “Hlophe’s conduct breached the provision of section 165 of the constitution in that he improperly attempted to influence the two justices of the Constitutional Court to violate their oaths of office” and that his conduct “threatened public confidence in the judicial system” in addition to threatening the “independence, impartiality, dignity …” of the court. ..