John Hlophe Nominated for Judicial Service Commission

Judicial Service Commission

Overview

John Hlophe, the former Western Cape Judge President, is making a notable return to the judiciary scene with his nomination to serve on the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). This comes after his impeachment by the National Assembly in February for gross misconduct.

Background

Impeachment History

  • Impeachment by Parliament: In February, Hlophe became the first judge in democratic South Africa to be impeached by Parliament for gross misconduct.
  • 2008 Constitutional Court Complaint: In May 2008, justices of the Constitutional Court filed a complaint against Hlophe for attempting to influence Justices Chris Jafta and Bess Nkabinde to rule in favor of then-President Jacob Zuma.

Gross Misconduct Details

  • Charges: The JSC found Hlophe guilty of seriously threatening and interfering with the independence, impartiality, dignity, and effectiveness of the Constitutional Court.
  • Outcome: The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) ruled that Hlophe had improperly tried to influence Justices Nkabinde and Jafta, violating their oaths of office.

Current Developments

Nomination to JSC

Parliamentary documents include Hlophe as one of six candidates for the JSC. If elected, he will appoint top judges for the nation’s courts.

  • MP Vote: In February, 305 MPs voted to remove Hlophe. This included all present ANC MPs and former ANC MP Bongani Bongo, whom Hlophe had controversially acquitted in a separate case.

Political Dynamics

  • Party Deployment: After his swearing-in as an MP, Hlophe expressed his willingness to accept the JSC nomination if his party decided to deploy him there.

Key Players

JSC Members and Nominations

  • Returning Members: EFF leader Julius Malema and DA’s Glynnis Breytenbach return to the JSC, both having previously served.
  • ANC Nominees: Molapi Soviet Lekganyane and Fasiha Hassan, newcomers to the National Assembly, have been proposed by the ANC to serve on the commission.
  • ActionSA has nominated Athol Trollip, their parliamentary leader and veteran MP, for the position.
  • Other Notable Nominations:
  • Faith Muthambi (former communications minister)
  • Adrian Roos (DA)
  • Sibonelo Nomvalo (MK Party)
  • Omphile Maotwe (EFF)

Additional Parliamentary Roles

  • Chair of Chairs: ANC veteran MP Cedric Frolick expects to retain his position as Chair of Chairs.
  • Other House Chairpersons: Supra Mahumapelo (former North West premier) and Zandile Majozi (IFP).

Conclusion

John Hlophe’s nomination to the Judicial Service Commission marks a significant comeback in South Africa’s judicial and political landscape. His potential election could influence the appointment of top judges and the future of the nation’s judiciary.

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