Judge hits at JSC ruling on Hlophe

A LAW body headed by former judge Johann Kriegler intends challenging the Judicial Service Commission's decision not to probe allegations made against Cape Judge President John Hlophe.

A LAW body headed by former judge Johann Kriegler intends challenging the Judicial Service Commission's decision not to probe allegations made against Cape Judge President John Hlophe.

"Proceedings will be launched . to set aside as irrational and unreasonable the decision . not to pursue the complaint of the judges of the Constitutional Court against Judge Hlophe, and not to pursue his complaint against the judges in turn," Kriegler told a media briefing in Johannesburg yesterday.

The pending legal challenge by Freedom Under Law has the support of two of its panel members, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and top academic Mamphela Ramphele.

"...The two asked me to express in public the grave seriousness of what is happening and, as the archbishop put it, 'you are working for the safety of our country'. It is indeed that serious.

"The rule of law cannot survive if the legitimacy of the judiciary is not protected and the legitimacy of the judiciary cannot survive unless the JSC does its duty," he said.

The decision not to probe allegations that Hlophe tried to influence two judges in a ruling involving President Jacob Zuma's former corruption case was "gravely harmful to the rule of law".

He said "thee purpose of the legal challenge was not to have Hlophe impeached, but to compel the JSC to do its duty.

"I owe nothing, I bear him no grudge, I owe a duty to the judiciary of this country, which I have served for decades to the best of my ability." - Sapa

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