Hlophe quizzes judge candidates on transformation, land in JSC interviews

hlophe quizzes judge candidates on transformation land in jsc interviews

CAPE TOWN – Transformation of the judiciary and land expropriation have been top of mind for beleaguered Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe, as he quizzed candidates to serve on his bench.

Hlophe was included on the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) panel which considered the candidates, despite its conduct committee having found him guilty of gross misconduct.

Hlophe is also facing impeachment in a separate matter, currently before the court.

Four candidates are vying for a single seat on the Western Cape High Court bench but Judge President John Hlophe had questions for only three of them, all of whom have served as acting judges at his invitation.

“What’s your understanding of the word transformation, Ms De Wet? What does transformation mean to you?” Hlophe asked.

But Hlophe changed tack when it came to regional court magistrate, Constance Nziweni.

“I’m going to turn up the heat. Let’s talk about the land, your views on Section 25 of the Constitution,” Hlophe said.

He was quickly cautioned by Deputy Chief Justice Mandisa Maya about putting the candidate in a precarious position in future.

“You’re answering this question now. Does it not mean that you would have to recuse yourself?” Maya asked.

Hlophe withdrew the question but then surprised Magistrate Mas-Udah Pangarker when her turn came.

“Deputy Chief Justice, I have no questions for this candidate.”

Last year, Pangarker slapped Hlophe’s attorney, Barnabas Xulu, with a hefty fine, and a suspended sentence, related to the non-payment of R20 million in disputed legal fees, to the state.

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