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Political parties and NGOs disappointed by John Hlophe’s appointment to the JSC

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is among the political parties that have rejected the appointment of impeached judge John Hlophe to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

Hlophe was elected alongside EFF leader Julius Malema, Glynnis Breytenbach (DA), Soviet Lekganyane (ANC), Faith Muthambi (ANC), Fasiha Hassan (ANC), and Athol Trollip (ActionSA) on Tuesday, 9 July. They will serve as the National Assembly’s representatives at the JSC, a body tasked with interviewing judges and regulating their conduct.

JOHN HLOPHE APPOINTED TO JSC

DA spokesperson on Justice and Constitutional Development Glynnis Breytenbach said. At the same time, it is the prerogative of political parties to nominate persons to serve on the JSC; it cannot stand that a person is allowed to serve on the same body that found him guilty of gross misconduct. At the same time, he was a judge, resulting in his impeachment.

Breytenbach said that in this context, it would be irrational for the National Assembly to have the same person impeached representing it on the JSC. 

“This is an apparent conflict of interest and an attempt to undermine the independence of the Judiciary of South Africa. The National Assembly is bound to protect and assist the Judiciary’s independence, integrity, and dignity, which the DA does not take lightly.

“Persons elected to represent the National Assembly on the JSC must hold such values, which cannot be said for Hlophe,” Breytenbach said. 

‘APPOINTMENT OF IMPEACHED JUDGE UNDERMINE COMMISSION’S INTEGRITY’

Equally, Judges Matter said it is disappointed by the National Assembly’s decision to designate as members of the Judicial Service Commission and Magistrates Commission MPs who have previously been found guilty of misconduct or have been criticised by courts for ethical breaches, such as Dr. John Hlophe and Faith Muthambi.

Judges Matter researcher Mbekezeli Benjamin said the decision undermines these commissions’ credibility and the judiciary’s integrity.

“It is a cruel irony that aspirant judicial officers will be assessed on their ethics, integrity, and fitness for judicial office by commissioners who have been found guilty of misconduct. Judges Matter reiterates our call for a written Code of Conduct for all commissioners, with a mechanism to recall those who do not uphold the terms of the code,” Benjamin said. 

On the other hand, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Veronica Mente said they are in full support of John Hlophe being elected to the JSC as he is the most qualified person, and it will now be interesting because they are going to have a combination of the most intelligent people in the JSC including Malema.

Mente said Hlophe was one of South Africa’s best judges and deserved to be the Chief Justice.

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