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By Editorial staff


Hlophe ruling shows that SA’s judiciary is alive and well

Our judges are the proverbial guardians of the gates of the city of our society.


Accountability Now director Advocate Paul Hoffman SC has made an interesting observation on the finding by the Judicial Conduct Tribunal that Judge John Hlophe acted with gross misconduct when he tried to sway two judges to rule in favour of former president Jacob Zuma.

Hoffman noted the irony in the fact that Zuma has been complaining loud and long about what he sees as corruption within the judiciary … yet the man actually found guilty of misconduct had been trying to get him off.

It remains to be seen whether Hlophe’s misconduct is considered serious enough that he would be suspended or even removed from the Bench … but the finding in itself is proof that our legal system – and its constraints on unethical behaviour – is still in fine health.

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That is critically important for the future – short, medium and long-term – because there will, undoubtedly, be many more challenges of our judges … mainly by those who, like Zuma, find the glare of the prosecution system on them for corruption and looting.

Zuma has served notice that he and his allies will stop at nothing to subvert or even radically change our constitutional democracy.

The foundation of that, especially as it relates to safeguards against excessive use of power (often done in other African countries to cover up or justify the theft of state resources), is the courts.

Our judges are the proverbial guardians of the gates of the city of our society.

We have to be able to trust implicitly that they will not allow miscreants in, under the cover of darkness, to loot and pillage.

If South Africa is to attain greatness as a nation – and to honour the struggles of Nelson Mandela and countless others – then it must stand on its strong ethical foundations.

Hlophe must not be allowed to judge others.

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Editorials Jacob Zuma John Hlophe