JSC tortoise must move

LAST year the world correctly condemned the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for delaying announcing who had won that country's presidential and parliamentary elections. How difficult could it have been to say whether incumbent President Mugabe's Zanu PF had won or lost the election, especially when individual poll station results were available for all to see?

The Judicial Service Commission's reluctance to tell the public what it has decided on whether Cape Judge President John Hlophe's conduct is anything to look into is no different from the Zimbabwean scenario.

It is now more than 10 days since they promised to announce their decision. Hlophe and the rest of us are still waiting to hear whether the JSC will investigate a complaint against him by Constitutional Court judges.

One would have thought that a body of the top-most lawyers in the country would be alive to the dictum that justice delayed is justice denied. Their delay in announcing their findings has already rendered whatever finding they will announce - should they eventually so decide - suspect. Each day that passes damages the integrity of the JSC.

Surely politics are now at play. The minister of justice and indeed the president should by now have voiced their unhappiness if the JSC's silence does not meet their approval.

We can only feel for the distinguished professionals who sit in the JSC but have now been reduced to obsequiousness by the need to placate political sensitivities. We need to know what the JSC has thought. That cannot be too much to ask for.