Legal teams fail to agree on Hlophe

Dudu Busani

Dudu Busani

CAPE Judge President John Hlophe, pictured, and the Judicial Service Commission have failed to reach a settlement regarding proceedings against the judge as advised by the South Gauteng high court.

At their court appearance last week Judge Nigel Willis advised the parties to reach a settlement and report back to him on Friday.

But Hlophe's lawyer, Barnabas Xulu, told Sowetan that the parties had failed to reach a settlement because the JSC had not responded to his letter enquiring about the contradictory statements made by the commission's acting chairperson, Lex Mpati and commissioners George Bizos and Mvuseni Ngubane, who both sit in on the proceedings.

Ngubane reportedly said that the majority of the JSC had wanted the Hlophe matter to be finalised before last month's elections "before the new administration starts doing their shenanigans".

But Mpati and Bizos denied any mention of the word "shenanigans" or new administration or that opposing the postponement had anything to do with politics.

"Ngubane's affidavit states that political considerations were involved in the decision by the JSC to refuse Hlophe a postponement on April 7. Bizos on the other hand has dismissed this. This means the JSC is divided," Xulu said.

Though the JSC did offer Hlophe a chance to lead his own case and cross-examine witnesses, the offer has been shunned by the judge until the contradictions are explained.

"They had not responded by the deadline on Friday and as far as I know they have not filed any papers," said Xulu.

Xulu said on Friday they had filed heads of argument about whether Hlophe's application to stop the proceedings was premature, and the JSC's failure to clarify the contradictory statements.

It was earlier suggested in court that Hlophe's application was premature as he should have waited for the JSC to make findings on the proceedings.