The Western Cape Judge President, John Hlophe, should be suspended pending the investigation into alleged gross misconduct on his part, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Monday.
DA spokesperson on justice, Glynnis Breytenbach said, “in light of his long and tainted history of alleged misconduct” he should not be at work until the investigation had been concluded.
A proper investigation into these allegations can only happen in his temporary absence from office.” Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng last week recommended that a tribunal be established to investigate serious allegations against Hlophe, including that he physically assaulted a fellow judge in the division, Judge Mushtak Parker, in chambers.
The decision followed some six months after Western Cape Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath deposed an affidavit accusing Hlophe of grossly abusing his power and heaping verbal abuse on her.
The counter complaint Hlophe filed against Goliath was dismissed. Breytenbach welcomed the decision to launch an investigation. It is likely, if the allegations are substantiated, to lead to impeachment proceedings against Hlophe.
“This is a crucial and necessary step to ensure that the judiciary is not stained by any individual’s alleged abuse of power and that our courts remain custodians of the constitution and the rule of law,” she said.
“We cannot afford to allow a situation where the independence of the courts is brought into question, and we trust that the establishment of the tribunal in the matter involving Judge Hlophe will restore the credibility, and independence of the Judiciary, and increase public confidence in the courts.”
She said she hoped that the tribunal would be given the necessary space and time to carry out its work.
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