Wednesday, 12 February 2020 12:37

The Judicial Conduct Committee will meet on the 21st of February to consider whether complaints involving Western Cape judge president John Hlophe and his deputy, Patricia Goliath, should be reported to the Judicial Conduct Tribunal.

The JCC will consider whether it should recommend to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) that the complaints be investigated and reported on by a Tribunal, the Secretariat of the JCC said in a statement

"After considering both Deputy Judge-President Goliath's complaint against Judge-President Hlophe and Judge-President Hlophe's complaint against Deputy Judge-President Goliath, the Deputy Chief Justice was satisfied in terms of Section 16(1) of the Judicial Service Commission Act... that each one of the two complaints, if established, would be likely to lead to a finding by the Judicial Service Commission that the respondent judge in each complaint is guilty of gross misconduct," the statement said.

"At the meeting, the committee may decide to recommend to the JSC that the complaints or one of them be investigated and reported on by a Tribunal, or to refer one of the complaints or both complaints to the Deputy Chief Justice so that he may designate a member of the committee to conduct an inquiry in terms of Section 17 of the JSC Act to determine the merits of the complaint," the statement said.

The JSC announced last month that the complaint by Goliath would be dealt with by the Judicial Conduct Committee, a statutory body chaired by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.

In her complaint, Goliath accused Hlophe and his wife, Gayaat Salie-Hlophe, of gross misconduct.

Goliath also accused Hlophe of attempting to interfere in a legal challenge to the inter-governmental agreement between South Africa and Russian nuclear agency Rosatom.

In addition, she alleged there had been physical assault by Hlophe on judges, as well as intimidation, victimisation and abuse.

The secretariat of the committee said after Goliath's complaint, Hlophe had lodged his own complaint of gross misconduct against Goliath.

In his counter-complaint, Hlophe charged that Goliath had, in the performance of her judicial functions, made herself guilty of judicial misconduct.

“The allegations, taken collectively, create a false and unfortunate impression that I abuse my judicial position, am corrupt and conduct myself in a manner not befitting the position of a judge,” Hlophe said.

The secretariat said Zondo had referred the complaints to the Judicial Conduct Committee to consider whether it should recommend to the JSC that they be investigated and reported on by a tribunal.