Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

Hlophe to participate in interviews for Western Cape judges

This is despite the Judicial Conduct Tribunal’s ruling earlier this month that found him guilty of gross misconduct.


The Judicial Services Commission (JSC) has confirmed embattled Western Cape Judge President Judge John Hlophe is expected on Friday to participate in interviews for the appointment of judges to serve on the Western Cape Division of the High Court.

This is despite the Judicial Conduct Tribunal’s ruling earlier this month that found him guilty of gross misconduct.

Non-profit organisation Freedom Under Law (FUL) wrote to the JSC on 16 April 2021 asking about Hlophe’s participation in the interviews.  This is after the tribunal found he had improperly attempted to influence Constitutional Court justices Chris Jafta and Bess Nkabinde to rule in favour of former president Jacob Zuma.

The case was in connection with the arms deal investigation.

ALSO READ: Judge Hlophe’s six main arguments against tribunal ruling

FUL CEO Nicole Fritz shared a letter on social media from JSC secretary Sello Chiloane confirming Hlophe’s participation on Friday.

“Judge President J M Hlophe will form part of the JSC when interviewing candidates for two vacancies in the Western Cape Division of the High Court on Friday, 23 April 2021,” the letter read.

Fritz argued in a letter in 2016, the JSC had indicated that the “absence of suspension from office or a guilty verdict” by the tribunal did not prevent Hlophe from participating in the selection process for judges.

She said now that the tribunal had found the judge guilty of misconduct, he should not take part in the process.

“Why won’t the JSC act in accordance with their own stated beliefs?” Fritz said.

Hlophe denies claims

Hlophe denied the allegations against him in a statement issued by his lawyers, B Xulu and Partners Incorporated, last week.

He said he never set out to influence or persuade Jafta and Nkabinde to violate their oath of office and he would in due course address the “appropriate forum” on his contentions against the tribunal’s ruling.

Hlophe is the first judge in South Africa’s democratic history to be found guilty of gross misconduct by the JSC’s tribunal and his fate now rests with the commission which has to decide whether to confirm the tribunal’s findings or not.

Explainer: What happens now for John Hlophe?

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