JSC itself not compliant, says SCA

The Board of Freedom under Law welcomes the two judgments handed down by the Supreme Court of Appeal relating to the Judicial Service Commission’s conduct of its inquiry into Judge President MJ Hlophe.

The SCA has dismissed the appeal by the JSC and Judge Hlophe against the Western Cape High Court finding that the JSC was improperly constituted when it decided (by a majority of six to four) to abort the inquiry (because it had not included Premier Zille as a member). In the appeal brought by FUL against a Pretoria High Court ruling refusing to set aside on review the merits of the decision top abort the inquiry the SCA upheld the appeal. Both judgments were by five judges, and were unanimous.

FUL is gratified that its stance on the important rule of law issues raised by the JSC’s refusal to complete the inquiry into allegations of serious judicial misconduct by the head of a court has been vindicated by these rulings. Both judgments establish an unfortunate series of failures by the JSC itself to act in a manner compliant with the Constitution and the law.