Parliament to vote on Hlophe, Motata’s impeachment next year
Two-thirds of the National Assembly is needed to vote in favour of the judges' impeachment.
Western Cape Judge President, John Hlophe. Picture: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Bongiwe Gumede
Last week, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services resolved to recommend the removal of Hlophe and Motata.
The National Assembly now has to consider the committee’s report and vote on the judges’ impeachment.
‘No possibility of tabling report’
In a National Assembly Programme Committee Meeting on Thursday, African National Congress (ANC) chief whip Pemmy Majodina proposed that MPs consider a hold on physical sitting to deal with the impeachment vote in 2024 due to time and venue constraints.
“Th requirement for such a report to be adopted or not, it needs a two-thirds majority. Given the tight schedule of the National Assembly between now and the rise of the House, I see no possibility of tabling that report because it needs a physical attendance.
“Notwithstanding the fact that it is the festive season for the City Hall with this short notice we might not be able to get the hall for a physical sitting of the National Assembly. I, there, make a proposal that we consider to convene a special sitting in January to deal with this report,” Majodina said.
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) MP Narend Singh agreed that the National Assembly can’t hold a sitting next week.
“I agree we can’t do it in the next two days or next week, but we must find the earliest opportunity to deal with those matters as the House,” Singh said.
National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula shared the same sentiments, saying the matter can only be considered once a venue has been secured.
“We have now received a report from the committee that they finalised everything and that they are ready to present the matter to the National Assembly hence the decision on our side that it would be better if we do it at the beginning of next year. We will not be able to do it before Parliament rises next year because of the challenges of a new venue,” the Speaker told the committee.
Watch the meeting below:
The National Assembly is set to have it’s last plenary session of the year next week Wednesday before the parliamentary fourth term officially comes to an end on 8 December.
According to the 2023 programme framework, the National Assembly’s constituency period will kick in on 11 December until 14 December.
Thereafter, the leave period starts on 18 December until 5 January 2024.
Another constituency period will take place from from 8 January to 26 January.
Motata and Hlophe’s removal from the bench was recommended by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) after they were both found guilty of gross misconduct for separate matters.
Their impeachment process has to be in line with Section 177 of the Constitution, which governs the removal of a judge.
In the National Assembly, two-thirds of MPs must vote in favour of the impeachment, which would result in the judge being formally removed from office by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
If the House does not vote in favour of impeachment, the judges could be sanctioned through punitive measures that include an order for an apology, a reprimand, counselling or training.
This would be the first time since 1910 that a judge is impeached in South Africa.