News24 – SAPA
Cape Town – Civil rights group AfriForum has complained to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) about “racist” remarks allegedly made by Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe. AfriForum’s legal team has submitted a written complaint against Hlophe in response to the “racist and hurtful remarks that Hlophe had allegedly made regarding judges of the Constitutional Court, according to an article in the Mail & Guardian”, AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said on Thursday. “Hlophe is quoted as having said, among other things, that he refused to shake the hand of Chief Pius Langa, as ‘I am not going to shake a white man’s hand”. “Hlophe now denies having said these things, while the Mail & Guardian maintains that he had indeed made these objectionable statements,” Kriel said. Hlophe had a “history of perpetually denying the large number of ill-considered statements that have been ascribed to him in the past, or of alleging that his words have been misquoted”.
‘Questions about integrity’
“These latest allegations against Hlophe must not be swept under the carpet once again, as has been the case in the past, as this will raise serious question marks about the integrity of the judicial system,” Kriel said. He also referred to allegations in 2005 that Hlophe supposedly said he had specifically given the Mikro School court case to Judge Wilf Thring, as he (Hlophe) had known that Thring would “fuck” the case up, and that the case could then be resolved on appeal. In the same year, a Cape lawyer, Josua Greeff, alleged that Hlophe had called him a “white shit”. Later indications that Hlophe had also accepted payments from the company Oasis, while making a decision on whether Oasis could proceed with legal action against Judge Siraj Dessai should have been handled far more circumspectly by the JSC, Kriel said. The judicial system was a crucial cornerstone for protecting the rights of civil society and therefore judges should at all times remain above any form of suspicion. AfriForum’s complaint was specifically directed at demanding, from the side of civil society, that the JSC ontinue and even expand their current investigations into Hlophe’s actions, he said.