Karyn Maughan was quite right to exhort the judiciary and Judicial Service Commission not to bend the rules for Teflon-coated Cape Judge President John Hlophe (Zuma’s shadow looms over judicial failure to resolve Hlophe saga, July 5).
He seemingly faces endless complaints of serious misconduct, in effect attempting to defeat the ends of justice, laid by all of the justices of the Constitutional Court in 2008. On the last occasion that Hlophe was on the carpet, for moonlighting and tax evasion, the latter charges were swept under the carpet and he escaped with a slap on the wrist. Had Judge Bernard Ngoepe not shut down a promising line of questioning started by Judge Craig Howie, and had Howie not allowed his inquiries into the tax affairs of Hlophe to be nipped in the bud, it may not have been necessary to have to deal with the rancid fruit salad that the complaint by the highest court has become.
Bending the rules then has come back to bite the system savagely now. All allegations of criminal conduct by judges need to be dealt with diligently and without delay in the interests of the integrity of the judicial system, and that of judges who may be falsely accused. The cloud under which Hlophe has found himself for a decade has not done the system, or him, any good.
SC Accountability Now
Letter published in Bdlive on 7 August 2018.