Yesterday, the Constitutional Court (the Court) in Nkabinde and Another v Judicial Service Commission and Others, ruled that a provision in the Judicial Service Commission Act meets constitutional muster. In making the ruling, the Court dismissed the application filed by Justices Nkabinde and Jafta to rescind an order previously made by the same Court. The Court further underlined that it is in the interests of justice that the complaint against Western Cape Judge President Hlophe be brought to finality.
The decision is the last hurdle which has been met and all but clears the way for the setting up of a tribunal to conduct disciplinary hearings into Judge Hlophe’s conduct. This, after a complaint of gross misconduct was laid before the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) against Justice Hlophe by all the then Justices of the Constitutional Court, including the subjects of yesterday’s ruling, Jafta and Nkabinde. They alleged that Justice Hlophe had acted improperly in trying to sway their judgments in matters with a direct bearing on the corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma. Justices Jafta and Nkabinde would have provided crucial evidence of this impropriety but they, instead, challenged the lawfulness of the tribunal that the JSC would have established. Eight years and numerous legal challenges later, it seems that this ruling will bring the matter to finality.
The Centre for Constitutional Rights (the CFCR) welcomes the recently concluded meeting between the Chief Justice as head of the Judiciary and the President as head of State. The meeting, at the request of the Chief Justice, Heads of Court and senior Judges of all Divisions, aimed to address the unwarranted attacks by some politicians on the Judiciary, but also the government’s apparent disregard for court orders.
The Centre for Constitutional Rights (the CFCR) welcomes Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s intervention in relation to the recent spate of unwarranted attacks on the integrity and independence of the Judiciary by senior members of the Cabinet and governing party.
THE CONSTITUTION AND GOOD PUBLIC LEADERSHIP: BREAKFAST DISCUSSION SERIES 2015
SPEAKERS: JOHANN KRIEGLER AND ZAK YACOOB
The Centre for Constitutional Rights (the CFCR) notes with great concern the increasing attacks on the independence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness of the courts by senior members of the African National Congress (ANC) and its alliance partners.
ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe, accuses the Judiciary of “overreaching” and “contradicting the interest of the state versus judiciary”. He reportedly stated that “there is a drive in sections of the judiciary to create chaos for governance… if it doesn’t happen in the Western Cape High Court, it will happen in the Northern Gauteng – those are the two benches where you always see that the narrative is totally negative and create a contradiction.”
The Centre for Constitutional Rights is deeply concerned about some of the comments made by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng at the Advocates for Transformation’s Annual General Meeting on 6 July.
The Chief Justice has taken an oath “to administer justice to all persons alike, without fear, favour or prejudice in accordance with the Constitution and the law”.
The Centre for Constitutional Rights (CFCR) welcomes and supports the Helen Suzman Foundation’s reported legal action against the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) aimed at clarifying the procedure and decision-making process relating to the nomination of persons for judicial office. It is high time that the interpretation of sections 174(1), 174(2) and 174(6) of the Constitution be tested in a court.