Premier Helen Zille Welcomes Constitutional Court Ruling on Judge Hlophe Case
Media Statement by Premier Helen Zille
On Friday, 30 March 2012, the Constitutional Court decided unanimously that it will not hear Judge John Hlophe's appeal in the matter relating to my original court action in the Cape High Court against the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). The JSC had decided not to pursue a disciplinary case against Judge Hlophe but was not properly constituted when it made that decision.
The Cape High Court made this finding on the basis that:
- I was not given a reasonable opportunity to participate in the proceedings, despite the constitutional stipulation that the Premier of a province is a member of the JSC when considering matters relating to the specific High Court of his or her province.
- The JSC was improperly constituted. It did not have the required 15 members in attendance during the proceedings and the decision-making process. There were only ten members present.
- A ruling of the JSC must be supported by a majority of its members. In other words, the decision not to proceed with the complaint would have needed to have been supported by at least eight members. In this case, six members voted that the complaint be dismissed and four against.
I am pleased that this matter must now go back to the JSC, who must reconsider the disciplinary case against Judge Hlophe and must properly constitute itself when doing so. This matter must be fully and properly investigated by the JSC. I will await communication from the JSC as to when it will table this matter for consideration.