The DA welcomes the resolution of the National Assembly confirming the impeachment of Judge John Hlophe

Issued by Adv Glynnis Breytenbach MP – DA Shadow Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development
21 Feb 2024 in News

More than 15 years later, the DA’s position that Hlophe lacks the integrity to be a judge, has been affirmed by the National Assembly which has adopted a resolution supporting the Judicial Services Commission’s finding that Hlophe should be removed as a judge.

In a last-minute attempt to prevent the adoption of this resolution, Hlophe unsuccessfully approached the Courts to prevent the National Assembly from exercising its Constitutional duties to hold public figures to account, including judges, who are not above the law.

This is a historic moment in our democratic history, where, for the first time, a judge will be impeached. The National Assembly, in terms of Section 177 of the Constitution, has adopted a resolution confirming the finding that Hlophe improperly attempted to influence Constitutional Court Justices in matters involving corruption charges against then-President Jacob Zuma. Hlophe’s actions posed a serious risk to the impartiality and independence of the South African judiciary.

While the DA welcomes the finality of this matter, we remain concerned that the process to remove Hlophe took over 15 years after the 2008 misconduct complaint was lodged. The process was protracted and complex, with extensive investigations, hearings, and deliberations by the JSC. We also saw political interference and legal technicalities delaying the process. The process could and should have been dealt with more expeditiously.

We may have waited 15 years for this moment, but the impeachment of Judge Hlophe, or any judge, has profound implications for judicial integrity in South Africa. It underscores the importance of upholding the highest ethical standards, the rule of law, and the Constitution among judicial officers. It also sends a clear message that no one, regardless of their position or influence, is above the law. Moreover, it reaffirms the principle of judicial independence as a cornerstone of democracy and boldly underlines the principle of the Rule of Law.

The DA has once again been vindicated by the removal of Hlophe after years of the ANC government dragging its feet on his removal.