Judges ask court to reconsider decision on Hlophe tribunal

Constitutional Court judges who accused Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe of misconduct, now want their own court to change its decision not to hear their appeal.

In 2008 now acting deputy chief justice Bess Nkabinde and Judge Chris Jafta were a part of the Constitutional Court’s decision to lodge a charge of misconduct against Hlophe at the Judicial Service Commission. They claimed at the time that Hlophe approached them and tried to improperly influence them on cases related to Jacob Zuma.

But when the inquiry was about to start, they challenged its lawfulness before the constitutional court itself and eventually the court said it could not hear their application because its judges were conflicted.

Now the same two judges want the Constitutional Court to change that decision.

Stephen Grootes talks to legal writer from Business day, Franny Rabkin and asks if we are on new legal ground here. Can a Constitutional Court decision be overturned?

It just happens extremely rarely. And I have been looking all morning, and I have not found one that has been granted.

Franny Rabkin, Legal writer Business Day

Rabkin says she is at a loss to understand this legal challenge by the two judges.

Rabkin's biggest concern is that every judicial conduct tribunal and every allegation of gross misconduct that the JSC has felt warranted a tribunal, has also been put on hold.

Which means a huge component of our judicial accountability mechanism is not functioning.

Franny Rabkin, Legal writer Business Day
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