South African News

John Hlophe’s appointment to the JSC stirs debate

Impeached Judge President, Dr John Hlophe was officially elected to represent the National Assembly on the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on Tuesday.

He was nominated during a sitting of the House in Cape Town. The house passed a motion after his party, uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party nominated him to be part of the body.

Parties including the African National Congress (ANC), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Al Jama-ah, African Transformation Movement (ATM), as well as the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) supported Hlophe’s nomination.

The ANC said that the constitution and the rules of the National Assembly didn’t say what qualifications an MP needed to sit on the JSC, so they supported the motion.

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Mdumiseni Ntuli, the newly elected chief whip of the ANC, stated that the long-standing tradition of political parties being able to appoint their own representatives to the JSC must be honoured until there are modifications made to the rules and constitution.

This is after the ANC withdrew its motion last week saying the matter needed thorough discussion.

The MK Party’s parliamentary leader, Hlophe will join the likes of EFF leader Julius Malema, Action SA national assembly leader Athol Trollip, the ANC’s Molapi Lekganyane and Fasiha Hassan and the Democratic Alliance (DA)’s MP Glynis Breytenbach in overseeing judicial conduct.

Meanwhile, the DA, Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) and African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) objected to the nomination, saying it was illogical and not recommended for a judge who has been impeached to serve on the JSC.

According to the DA, the EFF and MK Party’s wish is to tear down the independent judiciary, “which the DA works to protect”.

“This is a clear conflict of interest and an attempt to undermine the independence of the Judiciary of South Africa… Persons elected to represent the National Assembly on the JSC must hold such values, which cannot be said for Hlophe,” the DA said.

The DA said this was a risk to the JSC processes for the election of judges and their investigations into judges’ conduct, endangering the rule of law in South Africa and the proper functioning of the Judiciary.

Hlophe will now be responsible for appointing judges to the judiciary.

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