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Immunity denied: high court sends Hlophe packing

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Immunity denied: high court sends Hlophe packing

The judgment reopens the possibility of the JSC recommending the Western Cape judge president’s suspension

FRANNY RABKIN

The high court has rejected Western Cape judge president John Hlophe’s bid to set aside gross misconduct findings against him, saying the judge president’s particularly narrow interpretation of the constitution would leave the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) paralysed to “ensure his own immunity”. 

Unless he seeks to appeal it, the judgment would clear the way for an impeachment process in parliament. More importantly, the JSC had postponed a meeting about advising President Cyril Ramaphosa to suspend Hlophe but specifically said its position could change once the high court had made its decision.

Hlophe had gone to the high court challenging the JSC decision that found him guilty of gross misconduct, confirming the finding of an earlier judicial conduct tribunal. In August the JSC referred him to parliament for possible impeachment. ..

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