HLOPHE may be off the hook

CAPE Judge President John Hlophe is off the hook, according to sources.

CAPE Judge President John Hlophe is off the hook, according to sources.

The Judicial ServiceCommission is expected to announce a decision on whether they will continue with the inquiry into allegations of gross misconduct levelled at him.

Two independent sources have told Sowetan that the JSC delayed for 13 days to announce their decision on Hlophe because they were still drafting comprehensive reasons why they could not prosecute him.

JSC spokesperson advocate Marumo Moerane said a public announcement on the decision would be made today.

"An announcement will be made in Johannesburg on Friday, either in the form of a statement or a press conference," Moerane said.

Hlophe stands accused of trying to influence two Constitutional Court judges to rule in favour of President Jacob Zuma in a case concerning his corruption trial in 2008.

Constitutional law expert Shadrack Gutto said if Hlophe emerged victorious and it was found that his rights had been violated, he would be at liberty to take the matter to court and demandcompensation.

"The JSC is a tribunal body, meaning its decisions can be challenged in court.

"If he does take the commission to court and it is found that his rights were violated, nothing can be done except that he can claim compensation and go back to his job," Gutto said.

But, if the ruling is not in his favour, Hlophe cannot be interviewed for the Constitutional Court position for which he has been shortlisted with 24 other candidates.

If found guilty he will be dismissed from his positionand removed from the judiciary.

Other judges shortlisted for the Constitutional Court positions are Judge E Bertelsmann, Advocate G Budlender SC , Judge S Cachalia, Judge D Davis, Judge J Froneman, Advocate JJ Gauntlett SC, Judge B van Heerden, Judge CN Jafta, Judge M Jajbhay, Judge S V Khampepe, Judge F Kroon, Judge MF Legodi, Judge M Maya, Judge D Mlambo, Judge YS Meer, Judge MTR Mogoeng, Judge RW Nugent, Judge JNM Poswa, Judge K Satchwell, Judge WL Seriti, Judge L Theron, Judge N Willis, Judge NJ Yekiso and Judge RMM Zondo.

Hlophe and the JSC have tackled each other in and out of court since the allegations emerged.

On two occasions the Johannesburg high court ruled in favour of Hlophe by pronouncing the release of a press statement with details of the allegations against him unlawful and unconstitutional.