July 09, 2024

Parties not happy with Hlophe's appointment to JSC

MK Party Parliamentary chief whip Dr John Hlophe has been appointed to serve at the JSC
Photo: Parliament of SA

Some political parties have slammed the appointment of uMkhonto weSizwe Party chief whip Dr John Hlophe to represent the National Assembly on the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). Hlophe's nomination was supported by his party, the ANC, EFF, ATM, and Al Jamah. 



Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus), Inkatha Freedom Party, the Democratic Alliance, and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) objected Hlophe's nomination. DA spokesperson on Justice and Constitutional Development, Glynnis Breytenbach, said they cannot stand that a person is allowed to serve on the same body that found him guilty of gross misconduct. "In this context, it would be irrational for the National Assembly to have the same person impeached representing the National Assembly on the JSC. This is a clear conflict of interest and an attempt to undermine the independence of the judiciary in South Africa. The National Assembly is bound to protect and assist the judiciary's independence, integrity, and dignity, which the DA does not take lightly,' Breytenbach said. Wouter Wessels from the FF Plus said Parliament must come up with rules to address the issue of impeached judges being able to serve on the JSC.


Hlophe was found guilty by the JSC in 2020 after he was found to have tried to influence justices at the country's top courts in a case relating to former President Jacob Zuma. In March, members of Parliament voted for his removal and stripped him of his lifetime benefits. The disgraced judge became one of the first two South African judges to be impeached, together with Judge Nkola Motata. 


ANC chief whip Mdumiseni Ntuli said the party respected the DA's right to raise concerns about Hlophe's nomination for the reasons that they are advancing. "We have agreed that in instances where the rules of Parliament or the Constitution have not clearly defined a particular position, we are going to have to live based on the established rules and practices of Parliament.," he said. The MK party's Sihle Ngubane said the constitution and rules of Parliament do not prohibit Hlophe's appointment to the JSC. "The constitution does not contain an inherent qualification requirement for members to sit on the JSC since members who qualify to be appointed to the JSC are already members of the Parliament and therefore bound by their oath of office. The constitution, in its wisdom, does not regulate the qualification of members to sit in the JSC," he said. EFF parliamentary leader Floyd Shivambu said Hlophe's nomination should be respected. "There are so many less than capable members of the DA, some of them are serving in the executive now and do not have any form of qualification or direction,' Shivambu said. Hlophe will serve alongside Breytenbach, the ANC's Molapi Lekganyane, and EFF leader Julius Malema.

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