Judge Hlophe suspension should be immediate

Issued by Glynnis Breytenbach – DA Shadow Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development
26 Jul 2022 in News

The DA calls on President Ramaphosa to immediately suspend Western Cape High Court Judge President, John Hlophe, on the recommendation of the Judicial Services Commission.

Judge Hlophe has tainted the judicial system for over a decade. The President ought to waste no further time in taking his decision.

The suspension of Judge Hlophe is long overdue and this debacle has damaged the credibility of the Judiciary and the JSC.

The finding of misconduct by the JSC against Judge Hlophe affirmed the 12-year-long position of the DA that Judge Hlophe was not fit and proper to lead the Western Cape High Court.

Initially, over 12 years ago, Helen Zille as the DA Premier of the Western Cape started the legal process when the JSC inexplicably dismissed the very serious charges against Judge Hlophe for improperly attempting to influence judges of the Constitutional Court in one of Jacob Zuma’s many legal battles.

Last night the current DA Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, used his seat on the JSC to vote for Judge Hlophe’s suspension – the DA welcomes this bold move by Premier Winde.

This is the culmination of 12 years of work by the DA, and other roleplayers in the justice and constitutional development NGO space. It has involved roleplayers of all types and influence, working together, and sets an important precedent for collaboration between the official opposition and the whole of society.

That it has taken 12 years for Judge Hlophe to be formally put up for suspension, is 12 years too long. In these 12 years Judge Hlophe has been able to exercise enormous influence on the Western Cape High Court, by selecting judges assigned to cases, including his wife who sits on the same bench.

Having publicly stated his very clear anti-DA views on numerous platforms, it has been an ongoing fear of the DA that Judge Hlophe could use that influence in cases before the Court. Nonetheless, the DA has persisted in the fight for Judge Hlophe to be held accountable even in the face of the obvious risk of what this could mean for DA cases before his Court.

We strongly urge the President to take this decision without delay.