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ATM seeks undertaking that Ramaphosa will not suspend Hlophe

28 July 2022 - 22:27
The African Transformation Movement seeks an undertaking from President Cyril Ramaphosa that he will not suspend Western Cape judge president John Hlophe.
The African Transformation Movement seeks an undertaking from President Cyril Ramaphosa that he will not suspend Western Cape judge president John Hlophe.
Image: Trevor Samson

The African Transformation Movement is seeking an undertaking from President Cyril Ramaphosa that he won't suspend Western Cape judge president Hlophe pending his appeal that is before the SCA.

Lawyers acting for the ATM said should the undertaking not be forthcoming, they hold instructions to approach the court for an urgent interdict.

The recommendation that Hlophe be suspended was made by the Judicial Service Commission on Monday.  Hlophe was found guilty of gross misconduct in April 2021 after a finding he improperly attempted to influence two judges of the Constitutional Court.

“Our client is of the view that the JSC's decision was riddled with procedural and substantive errors which render it null and void,” Miya Attorneys wrote to the president.

The law firm said Hlophe made comprehensive written representations to the JSC before the commission took its decision.

It said the representations requested that the JSC allow Hophe’s legal representatives to make oral submissions in the meeting of the JSC due to the complexity of the issues involved in the matter.

The law firm said the JSC did not respond to the request, and, without explanation, failed to provide an opportunity for Hlophe's legal representatives to address the JSC in its meeting of Monday.

Miya Attorneys said the JSC decision to make the recommendation for a suspension while the matter is the subject of an application pending before the Supreme Court of Appeal to review and set aside the JSC's 2021 decision constituted a flagrant interference with the court processes.

The law firm said there was no recommendation to suspend Hlophe after the JSC's 2021 decision.

It said it was only after Hlophe was granted leave to appeal to the SCA last month that the JSC sought to retaliate against him by hastily convening a meeting to recommended his suspension.

“Our client would accordingly appreciate the president's undertaking not to suspend Hlophe JP or take any actions in respect of the JSC's recommendations pending the court's decision in the aforegoing application, by no later than the close of business on Friday, 29 July 2022 failing which we hold instructions to approach the court for an interdict on an urgent basis thereunder.”

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